Why I think Humboldt County California needs Its Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Mapped

April 3, 2013 –  (the shortlink for this blogpost is http://wp.me/puwO9-1Zh )

ADDED –!!!–> For data-backed proof that I’m completely correct about this, see the lab results of the samples I had analysed myself: June 5, 2013 “Radioisotope Analysis Results for sampled Seaweed, Soil & Mushrooms – (Northern Humboldt County, California)”  / Original April 3, 2013 post resumes unaltered:

Every now and then, I try to find more information on how much fallout from the ongoing Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster was actually deposited in far-northern coastal California, in particular Humboldt County where I currently reside.  So far I only have clues that the existence of localized “relative hotspots” remains a possibility.  Consider the following:

  • NO USGS Samples – As you can see in my blog post (May 1, 2012), ‘Radiation Fallout Maps for the United States‘, significantly high measurements of radioactive iodine (I-131) and also significantly elevated measurements of radioactice cesium (Cs-134 and Cs-137) were detected in the very few random samples the USGS analyzed from its NADP rain gauges, but no samples were taken in this area, as there is no NADP test site here:
For the original blogpost on 'radiation fallout maps for the United States', click image.

For the original blogpost on ‘radiation fallout maps for the United States’, click image.

  • No EPA Soil Samples – In my blog post, (November 29, 2012) ‘Has the EPA’s RadNet been Designed as an Obstacle Course? (w/ Post-Fukushima Radiation Data for Eureka, CA)‘, I already pointed out in that blogpost: Surprisingly, no soil samples have been studied in Eureka for many years, neither before nor after the Fukushima accidents.  Also, there is no regional monitoring network: the next EPA Radnet monitor is over 300 miles away.  Again: except for that pinprick of a monitor by Eureka itself, the US Government has left this entire coastal region, from the San Francisco Bay Area all the way to Northern Oregon, completely unmonitored.
EPA Radnet, one of the most pathetic radiation monitoring "networks" in the industrialized world.   CLICK IMAGE for Blogpost on Eureka's Radnet

EPA Radnet, one of the most pathetic radiation monitoring “networks” in the industrialized world. CLICK IMAGE for Blogpost on Eureka’s Radnet

  • Air with radioactive particles from Fukushima moved through the area, that much we know.  Now, think about: if radioactive air passes by Eureka and hundreds of miles inland samples from rain gauges detect no fallout, where do you think that radioactive dust settled?

I put a screenshot of the graphed gross gamma radiation that was detected by that sole Eureka monitor then in that blogpost; and here’s one for the Gross Beta Count (Radnet Eureka Data from http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-eureka-bg.html); the Fukushima-caused spikes are obvious:

Data: EPA Radnet Re-graphed (stretched out) to better see the variation.  In the short period directly following the Fukushima-Daiichi meltdowns, several bands of radioactive polluted air clearly moved through the area.  CLICK IMAGE to visit EPA Radnet's Japan 2011 site for Eureka http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-eureka-bg.html

  • There is significant medical statistical evidence of a higher-than-average fallout impact.   I certainly consider a 3,800 % spike of increased hypothyroidism observed in newborns in Eureka alarming.  [Hypothyroidism means your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone.  Note (4/4/2013: In the first hours this blogpost was up I had erroneously written “hyperthyroidism”, a very different condition.  The study always had it right, though.]  This was revealed in a study made public online this March 2013.  Following the nuclear accident in Japan, it’s the most of any US city, more than double the second worst.  To quote from the study [my emphasis]:

Observations [of hypothyroidism in newborns, as a result of Fukushima I-131 fallout] for some sites showed especially large increases. In the Pacific/West Coast, the largest changes were in the California cities of Eureka (increase of 38.264 times), Anaheim (14.941), and San Bernardino (12.054). In the 31 control sites, the only increases above 4.2 times were observed in Tucson AZ (9.320) and Salt Lake City UT (7.879)” —  Open Journal of Pediatrics, 2013, 3, 1-9  (Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown – by Joseph J. Mangano, Janette D. Sherman Radiation and Public Health Project, New York, USA – Published Online March 2013): – Availble through KMUD:  http://www.kmud.org/images/stories/audio/news/OJP_Article.pdf 

Or HERE: ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/133727093/Elevated-airborne-beta-levels-in-Pacific-West-Coast-US-States-and-trends-in-hypothyroidism-among-newborns-after-the-Fukushima-nuclear-meltdown )

  • Computer simulation of radioactive particles in air moving with weather patterns suggest The US and Canadian West Coasts were hit hard, with Humboldt County certainly being no exception.  As you watch the animated simulation (click links in next paragraph), you can keep your eyes on this region by looking at the westernmost part of California, the Lost Coast’s Cape Mendocino sticking out into the Pacific in the far northern part of the state.  You’ll see:  this region was delivered one radioactive blow after another.

Watch the simulation animation (!), as well as the simulated estimated relative deposition @ http://cerea.enpc.fr/en/fukushima.html   Or, if you want to be able to pause it, watch it on YouTube @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8UZGA8zeyk.  This is a screenshot of one of the blows delivered to Humboldt and surroundings:

CLICK IMAGE to watch original animation at http://cerea.enpc.fr/en/fukushima.html

CLICK IMAGE to watch original animation at http://cerea.enpc.fr/en/fukushima.html

When you zoom in on the simulated  deposition of Cesium-137, you see heightened levels in the mountainous regions, where radioactive particles are expected to have rained out.

Terrible resolution of this modelled deposition, but it predicted higher deposition in the coastal range and Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Terrible resolution of this modelled deposition, but it predicted higher deposition in the coastal range and Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Keep in mind: these values are NOT measured! This are computer-generated guesses!  That’s my point, there’s enough that suggests fallout was deposited, and given the erratic nature of fluid dynamics, within the context of a very varied regional topography, widespread and extensive soil testing, or at the very least aerial mapping the way King County (Seattle, WA) did it (… Ah bummer… they took all the documents down I linked to on ‘Radiation Fallout Maps for the United States‘… Good I took some screenshots! ;-)  Check it out.  Looks like they were lucky.  But  just one mile further could be a whole other story…)

Getting independent accurate scientifically sound data (of Cs-137, Cs-134 and Sr-90 content of soils, mushrooms and other outside-grown foods, for starters) from all over the region, seems called for.  If agencies, including the US Department of Energy (DOE) can pull it off in a matter of weeks to have vast regions of Japan mapped in detail, why are people in North America left almost entirely in the dark?   It’s been over two years and – at least in this region – no one hasn’t even gotten a clue if there’s fallout on their farm land to begin with, and if so, how much.

Now, before I find out, I ask myself: ‘What would be “really bad”?’  I’m no expert (read my disclaimer), but I think soil measurements of 10,000 Bq/m^3 and up (the orange color on the Chernobyl fallout map in my last-mentioned blog post (here, again)) would be a good place to draw the line, a line after which crops grown there would have to be closely monitored and the Bq/kg values mentioned on the label, with no food ever exceeding strict food safety standards.   Finding anything truly extreme outside Japan seems highly unlikely to me, but one never knows.   Personally, if I were to make a guess, I wouldn’t expect values higher than 2,000 Bq/m^3, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were “relative localized hotspots” above 1,000 Bq/m^3.  (Two years later, some of that may already have been eaten, washed away, or sunken deeper into the soil, though…)

The thing is, once you know, then you can choose to monitor the crops grown there more closely, so that you can guarantee that no contaminated food ever reaches the market.  If it’s relatively benign, which is the most likely finding, you can still mitigate to improve your situation:  You could suck the cesium out of the soil with mushrooms, or otherwise bind it with zeolite, for example.  And if it’s really bad, then it shouldn’t produce crops for consumption, and the farm should receive emergency compensation.  That speaks for itself.

[Last updated (note added in blue-green) – April 4, 2013 @ 10:01 am PST.  

If you spot an error, or have more info to share, PLEASE leave a comment. – mvb]

Related, added afterwards:

4/12: Found some 2011-2012 California Dept. of Public Health data for Eureka, see HERE.

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