News & AnalysisRadioecology

Fukushima Radiation Creates Unique Test of Marine Life's Hardiness

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Science  15 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6027, pp. 292
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6027.292

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When radiation readings from water monitors around the leaking Fukushima Daiichi plant began rising this month, spiking at 7.5 million times Japan's legal limit for radioisotopes in public water, government agencies reacted sharply. For the first time in history, the Japanese government set a limit on radiation in seafood and began screening fish. India and China recently banned imports of food products from certain areas of Japan, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began conducting its own radiation screens on seafood imports. Monitoring food makes sense, according to radiation geochemists, but they warn against overreacting to the perceived risk of ocean contamination.