Radioisotope Analysis Results for sampled Seaweed, Soil & Mushrooms – (Northern Humboldt County, California)

Okanogan Valley, Northern Washington (USA) – June 5, 2013 – [edited & added-on since]

[Read my DISCLAIMER – unless given explicit written permission, DO NOT reblog my posts nor use my data!  See the Disclaimer & Share Policy on how to share.]

March 14, 2014 NOTICE: Fukushima fear-not-facts news promoter Michael Collins of Enviroreporter.com, in his March 11, 2014: Fukushima – The Perfect Crime? , used my below-shown soil sample data without permission, without linking to this as his source, while also mentioning me several times by name.  His presentation  of the piece’s “hot pot” section is extremely misleading, as it fails to include several nuances such as that:

The amount of Cesium 134+137 found in both samples (see below) is actually relatively small.  Mushroom from the same region, (which, unlike marijuana, absorb cesium) contained obvious leftover from the nuclear bomb testing era, but no Cs-134, the Fukushima signature.  Marijuana or most other crops grown on the sampled soil would only absorb a fraction, practically certain to be below detectable levels.  His portrayal of medical marijuana as somehow being “hot”, as in “dangerously radioactive”, a medicine that is being used by increasing numbers of patients (as well as recreationally) can not be substantiated.  In fact, my very limited data actually suggests the likelihood that pot grown in that area is radiologically perfectly safe, certainly as far as Fukushima impacts goes (spring 2013 data), is very high.  Also, the unresponsive Mr. Collins failed to mention that local seaweed contained no cesium whatsoever.  He has never approved my comments for viewing by his readers, thus far.  See my comments and his bullshit at the end of this blogpost. –  Original post as follows:

In my blog post, “Radiation Fallout Maps for the United States (May 1, 2012)”, I pointed out that land spots in the Pacific Northwest received more radioactive fallout from the (ongoing) Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster than some areas in Eastern Japan, and that more testing of soils and an extensive radiation mapping effort for all of North America was called for.  That remains the case.

Trinidad Beach, Trinidad, Humboldt County, Northern California One of the locations I sampled from, in this case a small amount of Dulse and Rockweed seaweeds. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, April 2013.

Trinidad Beach, Trinidad, Humboldt County, Northern California
One of the locations I sampled from, in this case a small amount of Dulse and Rockweed seaweeds.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, April 2013.

On March 25, 2013, I started out with the blog post, “Seeking Lab for Radio-isotopic Analysis of Samples. Suggestions Welcome,” to which I added the couple suggestions (received by email).  I ended up going with EMSL Analytical,  Inc, for the combination of high quality, broad range of isotopes tested for, prompt clear communications, and price.

At the beginning of April, while gathering samples of various soil locations and food items in Northern California, I reiterated my point of “Why I think Humboldt County California needs Its Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Mapped“.  That’s just where I was living at the time (currently in the process of moving north of there), the same holds true for all of Western North America, which is quite obvious when you look at the maps provided in the blogpost above.  The EPA has done no sample testing in the region, but the State of California performed a few routine tests, which I touched upon HERE.

Due to the high cost of quality testing (@ $125/per sample), and with a maximum budget of $600 designated for this, I ended up only getting 4 samples fully analyzed : 2 soil samples, a mixed wild mushrooms sample, and a sample of local Pacific Ocean seaweeds.

(I either ate or tossed all the other samples I had gathered.)

A description of the 4 samples, their laboratory testing results,
and my commentary, are this blogpost.

The Samples:

  • Mushrooms:    

Morel and Chantrelles from Sig Rivers National Forest, mixed into one sample to increase the amount needed for a quality test

Morel and Chantrelles from Sig Rivers National Forest, mixed into one sample.

50.3 g mixed mushrooms:  Combination of wild CHANTERELLES mushrooms (25.2 g (dry weight)) + wild MOREL mushrooms (25.1 g (dry weight)), from same area: reportedly gathered during rainy season (November-December 2012) from Six Rivers National Forest, near Weitchpec, Humboldt County, Northern California.

According to this Health With Food article from March 20, 2011, “Mushrooms That Absorb Radioactive Cesium“, both Chanterelles and Morels are “low-radioactivity” mushrooms.   While they contained a surprising amount of Cs-137 (surprising to me, but in line with known bomb test & Chernobyl impacts), see below, but no Cs-134, meaning no Fukushima signature.  If the impact of Fukushima had been more pronounced in this area of California, it would be most noticeable in mushrooms by spring 2013.

  • Seaweeds:

Seaweed sampled from Trinidad, CA

Seaweed sampled from Trinidad, CA

64.1 g (WET weight,) of mixed seaweed, mainly Dulse (red) and Rockweed (green) from Pacific Ocean Beach between Trinidad head and College Cove, Trinidad, Humboldt County, Northern California, Sampled at low tide on April 21, 2013.

Surprisingly the seaweed turned out just fine.

For seaweed (which bioaccumulate iodine) evidence that Fukushima was fissioning in 2013, see the finding of Iodine-131 in seaweed by Korea, detected in Summer 2013, see HERE.  I fuound no Fukushima radioisotopes in my seaweed sample whatsoever.

  •  Soil Sample “#2”: 

    500.0 g (partially moist) Soil from bottom of small already-dried-out meadow pool/pond, sampled on April 29, 2013 from edge of Six River National Forest, near Willow Creek, Humboldt County, Northern California .

  • Soil Sample “#3”:

500.0 g of fresh rich compost soil, made from compostables from Northern Humboldt County, Northern California   Sample ingredient bought from Northern California farm store; Sampled on April 29, 2013.

  • The Results:

——- Laboratory Report ——-

Gamma Spectroscopy 

Project: Mushrooms, Soil, and Seaweed Analysis

Procurement of Samples and Analytical Overview:

All of the samples that were submitted for Gamma Spectroscopy analysis were received on May 2, 2013. The soil samples were placed into appropriately labeled aluminum pans and placed into a drying oven to remove all moisture.

The samples were then poured into a quart sized paint can and shaken to homogenize the samples. Each sample was then transferred into an appropriately labeled 500mL Marinelli beaker and counted for 8 hours using a high purity Germanium gamma detector. The mushroom and seaweed samples were analyzed in their entirety since insufficient sample was submitted and counted for 16 hours to help achieve lower detection limits. All samples were analyzed using the EMSL “P” Library to look for specific isotopes. This library mainly focuses on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) along with the addition of Cesium, Iodine, Zirconium, and Cobalt.

All results are considered to be close to background radiation, even though some Cesium was detected in the soil samples, the amount of radioactivity detected is considered to be minimal.

[For my own additional commentary, see below the test result table]

Descriptions & Definitions:

“MDA – Is the minimum amount of detectable activity associated for a particular measurement.

Important Terms, Conditions, and Limitations:

[…]

Warranty: EMSL warrants to its clients that all services provided hereunder shall be performed in accordance with established and recognized analytical testing procedures and with reasonable care in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. […]

Limits of Liability: In no event shall EMSL be liable for indirect, special, consequential, or incidental damages, including, but not limited to, damages for loss of profit or goodwill regardless of the negligence (either sole or concurrent) of EMSL and whether EMSL has been informed of the possibility of such damages, arising out of or in connection with EMSL’s services thereunder or the delivery, use, reliance upon or interpretation of test results by client or any third party. We accept no legal responsibility for the purposes for which the client [that would be me] uses the test results. […]  The data and other information contained in this report, as well as any accompanying documents, represent only the samples analyzed.  […] They are reported upon the condition that they are not to be reproduced wholly or in part for advertising or other purposes without the written approval from the laboratory.”

  • Samples Test Results: 

EMSL_testresults_4samples_NoHum_May2013_MVB_table_annotated1

SO, to put the Iodine-131, Cesium- 134 and Cesium-137 results in SI units (International System of units):

  • EMSL_testresults_4samples_NoHum_May2013_MVB_table_annotated1_3isosOnly_Bq.kg
Four spring 2013 samples from Northern California,
Analyzed by a qualified lab to check for evidence of radioactive fallout
Only the Cs-134 is (with high certainty) from the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear distaster in Japan, 5000 miles away.
Table: Michaël Van Broekhoven, allegedlyapparent.wordpress.com
  • !-> Implied likely Surface Soil Contamination:

Soil sample #2 (500 grams partially moist) was taken from an area near where I used to live, that I suspected could have elevated levels due to rainwater having gathered there in a pooling area that had already dried up after a very dry spring.  I’m multiplying it by x60 to get an approximate (conservative) surface contamination estimate; leaving me with this very possible level of 803.4 Bq/m2 (give or take a couple hundred Becquerel), for ease and to make sure not to exaggerate, I feel very confident to say that the contamination in that most-likely-contamination-elevated area* surpasses 500 Bq/m^2, and might even measure above 1,000 Bq/m^2 if the Cesium seeped deeper into the soil over the past 2 years.  Knowing how I gathered the sample, 500 Bq/m^2 (in a lower lying area of perhaps 200 m^2) is more than likely, but remains speculative due to not having precisely measured the surface area sampled.

*Important note:  “Hotspot” would really not be an appropriate term for such levels that pose practically no threat.  Based on the fallout maps of Chernobyl and Fukushima, I wouldn’t be concerned until levels surpass 10,000 Bq/m^2, or food items were to surpass half the old maximum level of 100 Bq/kg Cs-137.  Food grown on soils that tests as “barely impacted” are unlikely to absorb enough to even be detected when lab-tested.

Attention:  Be very careful with interpreting Geiger Counter measurement, as many foods contain Potassium (Kalium or K), sometimes in very surprising amounts (See my lab-analysis of Japanese Kelps in winter 2013-2014).  Potassium always includes a fraction of natural ly radioactive K-40!  See more in the 2014 blogpost mentioned in my must-read “Some Pointers to See Through Nuclear Deceptions.”

In any case, this makes it significantly higher than the highest Cs-137 contamination reported by the USGS in 2012 (240 Bq/M^2 near Los Angeles, see my Fallout Maps of the United States):

Added data in red is a a calculated conservative

Added data in red is a a calculated conservative “guestimate” based on a soil sample with 13 Bq/Kg of Cs-137

Some more thoughts on this:

  • [Added:]  Cesium starts of 1:1 for Cs-134 to Cs-137, and because Cs-134 half-life (2 years) is much shorter than Cs-137 (30 years), over time there is always more Cs-137 than Cs-134.  If the ratio is close to 1:1, it suggest a recent fissioning event.  Because NO cesium-134 was detected in the wild mushrooms, it is quite likely that a large amount of the Cs-137 was not from Fukushima, but leftover from nuclear testing in the second half of the 20th century, as well as from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
  • [Added:]  Also, while Soil Sample 2 contains 10 times more Cs-137 than Cs-134, Soil Sample 3, which was compost soil made with recent vegetal materials contained only 4 times as much Cs-137 than Cs-134, indicating a higher concentration of fresher contamination, which makes sense as it was fairly new compost.  This also hint that more contamination may have occured in Southern or Central California, where much of the food eaten in Northern California comes from.
  • If the samples I had tested were representative of the vast untested regions of the Westerns US, then contamination is low enough for me to still not really be concerned about health-hazardous widespread food contamination in the US west.   However, these results are among the highest (if not THE highest, not sure about that one yet) that I’ve seen for Fukushima** contamination of North America, the likelihood of far worse contamination existing and remaining unknown to residents and farmers remains high.   (What you do not know may significantly impact your quality of life.  Ignorance is NOT bliss.)
  • My suspicion that ‘hotspots’ may exist throughout the American and Canadian west is clearly not unreasonable: If just one sample can test higher (well, it did!) than what the US government has reported so far, then it’s rather likely that far higher contamination exists as well.  The case for having North America’s radioactive fallout mapped and scrutinized in detail, just as was done (with US help) for Japan, to find out if problematic levels exist on farm land, remains called for.  The US government’s continued refusal to do so suggests outright contempt for the health and wellbeing of its population.
  • The radioactivity levels found are not particularly troubling, but their widespread occurrence underscores the madness of nuclear technology.  In themselves, these results are not worrisome enough for me to change my eating habits (in my opinion – and make sure to read my DISCLAIMER), but the fact that just ONE totally random sample of mushrooms from Far-Northern California shows a contamination level of radioactive Cesium-137 measuring 23 Bq/Kg, one of the highest so far found in North America (!), suggests that it is quite possible that levels exceeding the old health maximum level of 100 Bq/kg may be reached in patches of forest with heightened fallout contamination throughout the Pacific Northwest.  This underscores the need for detailed fallout maps and more testing by agencies such as both the EPA and FDA, who have been downplaying this disaster since the very beginning of it.
  • Compare the mushroom result with these 2012 findings of Cs-137 contamination of mushrooms in Japan, and this Ex-SKF translated AUGUST 6, 2012 report: “31,000 Bq/Kg of #Radioactive Cesium in Wild Mushrooms in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, Highest “Official” Measurement Ever”  In Europe, the safety limit was raised to 600 Bq/Kg (not because Cs-137 is less carcinogenic there, but because even that lower standard is still surpassed in various areas due to the fallout from Chernobyl in 1986, see article from Finland: ‘Mushrooms Contain High Radioactive Cesium Levels’, which also states that rinsing and boiling can remove as much as 75% of the cesium from the mushrooms.
  • Other people have been doing tests as well.  See for instance the reports by EnviroReporter, which included (in August 2012) the finding by Security Tokyo that California Oranges sold in Japan measured 13.23 Bq/kg of Cs-137. (see here).

**I say “Fukushima contamination”, but an unknown percentage of the manmade radioactivity found is likely rather from Chernobyl and nuclear tests.

—- end report —

I hope this effort was helpful somehow.

 [Read my DISCLAIMER before flipp’n out.  Tx.]

Last updated [couple small edits] on March 15, 2014.
  • Addendum:  a word of WARNING about BS-promoter EnviroReporter.com‘s misrepresentation of the above data.

Because Santa Monica’s award-winning “journalist” Michael Collins of EnviroReporter.com used the above data while refusing to link here and the fact that he’s never published any comment I ever submitted (5 or less in total in the past 3 years), nor replies to email or facebook communication attempts, I’ve decided to point out that, as the one who collected the samples, paid for the analysis, and shared my findings here, I am pointing out that he did not have permission to use my data (certainly not without linking here), and has created a disgusting piece of unscientific fear-mongering from which I distance myself.  His interpretations are unsound, see the nonsense in question further down in this addendum.  Due to his record of unresponsiveness, I took screenshots of the past two comments I submitted just before hitting the ‘submit’ button.

Here’s my comment regarding his continued use of only Geiger Counters to make wild claims about Fukushima fallout impacts in 2013/2014:

Too bad about the typo (the missing 'not'), but it's obvious from the context, text and links.  My comment, submitted right after this screenshot was taken, was not allowed to be seen by readers of Michael Collin's.  Comment by © Michaël Van Broekhoven of  the

Too bad about the typo (the missing ‘not’), but it’s obvious from the context, text and links. My comment, submitted right after this screenshot was taken, was not allowed to be seen by readers of Michael Collin’s. EnviroReporter.com Comment by © Michaël Van Broekhoven of the “Allegedly Apparent” Blog. EnviroReporter.com

I would have ignored him after that, was it not for him using my above-shared data without contacting me, without permission, without linking to my blog, without allowing me to add a disclaimer in the article’s comment thread, etc.  Hence my pointing out he can’t be trusted.  DISCLAIMER.

I tried to leave this comment yesterday, also in vain:

The kinds of comments EnviroReporter readers are not supposed to see... Comment on article that used © Michaël Van Broekhoven data of Humboldt County soil samples.

The kinds of comments EnviroReporter readers are not supposed to see…
Comment on article that used © Michaël Van Broekhoven data of Humboldt County soil samples.

Now…, isn’t it rather odd, in addition, that EnviroReporter’s Michael Collins’ opinion on the Fukushima fallout matter was very much the official version in 2011:

“[…]  So the big question, then, is, has Collins’ Geiger counter seen any increase in radiation that scientists think could be coming to California from Japan’s ailing Fukushima reactors?

No.

“Everything is the normal amount of radiation you find in this area,” Collins, says. “If we had fallout I would detect it. […]”  

– SOURCE:   LA Weekly, March 18, 2011: “Michael Collins, L.A. ‘Enviroreporter,’ Gets Local, Global Attention For His Geiger Counter Cam” By Dennis Romero  – Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 3:29 PM)

Strange, ’cause right then in the first few weeks, it was later revealed, there was in fact substantial fallout deposited in the SOUTHERN California region, far worse then than officially admitted at the time…

This side-pondering could be expanded into the realms of potential PsyOps (where, for example, “false flag disinformation agents”, who portray themselves one way, but ultimately serve a very different objective, mix a variety of excellent and questionable data with various degrees of logical and flawed-logic interpretations, hyperbole and utter nonsense, with as cumulative psychological outcome a social angst division, with concerned idealist but gullible ones in one “camp” (if this were to apply to EnviroReporter, could he have gathered a small herd of very alarmed people by now, tightly guarded from comments that could shake their convictions and believe in the said reporter’s integrity, while on the other hand alienating people with better critical thinking skills and science know-how?)… While some might think it fits a anti-nuclear agenda, I wouldn’t be so sure, as the credibility of the (controlled opposition?) reports is easily shown to be lacking, leaving policy makers every reason to ignore ‘m.   Anyways… maybe unlikely, but I’m just putting it out there, ’cause it wouldn’t be the first time that an award-winning journalist or highly respected public academic would end up serving as some kind of ‘gatekeeper’ later, would it?     Anyhow, maybe he’s just trying to built a donor base…  In any case, I’m saddened by the apparent revelation that whoever steers EnviroReporter.com is less interested in the truth than in maintaining a fear-inducing reporting approach.  Makes me wonder if he’s invested in a different agenda altogether, that’s all.   Will he flip his opinion again if things get worse, after he’s done with wearing the public concern about all things nuclear down to the point of utter disinterest?  Who knows, but this is my advice:  Count EnvirReporter OUT as a reliable source when it might matter most.

By the way, for an additional clue into his manner of operations: After my above-shown last comment was submitted, and denied again, he apparently seems to have used the IP-blacklist option (normally an option to limit SPAM comments), resulting in this greeting when I tried to return to his site to document his extremely unscientific interpretation of of my scientific data:

This is how Enviroreporter.com treats the input from the very source of some of his used data...

This is how Enviroreporter.com treats the input from the very source of some of his used data…

And this while – last time I checked from a different IP address – his article remained unchanged: 

March 13 screenshot of the

March 13 screenshot of the “Hot Pot” section on fear-mongerer Michael Collins of EnviroReporter.com

While I won’t comment on the rest of Enviroreporter March 11, 2014 Fukushima The Perfect Crime piece, its pathetic fear-mongering  “Hot Pot” part, as you can clearly see, largely built on the un-nuanced presentation of my data, and added gross misinterpretation of its implication, going as far as to call the sampled soil “potentially lethal” (which is purely for emotional effect, but meaningless, as even clean water can be “potentially lethal”), while refusing to link (or even refer) to my blog.   What an asshole!   I sure hope people who use medicinal marijuana for purposes it is reportedly extremely helpful for (such as cancer for its curing potential, or as an appetite enhancer for chemotherapy patients, anxiety reduction, etc)  are not lead to more suffering by this shameless “reporter”.

More cleverly crafted bullshit to scare the gullible, in screenshot-part2 of “Hot Pot”:

March 13 screenshot of the
March 13 screenshot of the “Hot Pot” section on fear-mongerer Michael Collins of EnviroReporter.com. Click image to read my Disclaimer, Fair Use, and Share Policy.

As a result, I have edited my Nuclear News Links.  Do not trust EnviroReporter !

!–> I highly recommend Some Pointers to See Through Nuclear Deceptions, in particular:

DISCLAIMER & Share Policy

[Last Updated: March 15, 2014; Last edited: April 3, 2014 (small edits, no content changes)]
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5 Responses to Radioisotope Analysis Results for sampled Seaweed, Soil & Mushrooms – (Northern Humboldt County, California)

  1. Pingback: A Visit to Belgium’s Nuclear Waste Depository Lab, HADES, 750 feet Underground… | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  2. Marcel Leutenegger says:

    Let me kindly thank you for undertaking these measurements. I am fine with your general conclusions and would not dare commenting if it were not for your issue with EnviroReporter. The apparently unfriendly reuse of your findings and disrespect of your right to respond on their website speaks for itself. Thus, let me focus on the interpretation of your data.

    The soil samples show some Cs-134 contamination. You collected them 780 days after 3/11. Assuming a 1:1 ratio of Cs-134 to Cs-137 activity in the fuel at Fukushima on 3/11, I expect to find 48% of the original Cs-134 and 95% of the original Cs-137 activity in the samples. Hence, a Cs-137:Cs-134 ratio of 2:1 can be expected at the time of analysis. This means that your soil samples containing about 1Bq Cs-134 per kg are expected to contain 2Bq Cs-137 per kg due to the Fukushima disaster. If the Cs-134 were from Chernobyl, the samples should show 4.6kBq Cs-137 per kg; and even more if it were from Three Mile Island. Knowing of no other recent major nuclear disaster before your sample collection, I conclude that 1Bq Cs-134 and 2Bq Cs-137 per kq soil stem from Fukushima. In other words, one fifth of the Cesium contamination in soil sample #2 and two-thirds in sample #3 are from Fukushima.

    Your mushroom sample contained no detectable Cs-134 but 23Bq Cs-137 per kg. I find this somewhat astonishing. If any contamination from Fukushima occurred in the collection area, I guess that the fresh Cesium did not yet penetrate into the soil deep enough to be picked up by these mushrooms in notable quantity.

    Besides, large-scale screening of the radioactive fallout in North America is required if you want to find out what is going on. I guess many people prefer to ignore that. In fact, such screening could discover in passing the left-overs of other nuclear messes of the past.

    Regarding allowed radioactivity levels in food, I think of times when 1Bq/kg for baby nutrition and 10Bq/kg for other food were considered appropriate. Nuclear bomb testing forced governments to raise levels a first time. After the Chernobyl disaster, even 100Bq/kg banned too much food from the European markets. Today’s levels are definitively not based on safety for consumers but on economic constraints. For instance, Russian scientists found that a Cesium activity of 10-20Bq per kg body weight already leads to hearth troubles (Chernobyl hearth). This exposure is achieved upon frequent consumption of food with just a few Bq radioactivity per kg. In my opinion, the effects of wide-scale contamination confirm the food standards of the pre-nuke era.

  3. Thank you for commenting, and clarifying the usefulness of those ratios for determining the Fukushima pat of the Fallout.. And I completely agree. Danke!

    shortlink for post is https://goo.gl/U8njKJ

  4. Pingback: They won. | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  5. Pingback: Any Thorium-231 in Fukushima Fallout ? | Allegedly Apparent Blog

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