Independent LAB TEST RESULTS: RadioIsotope Analysis of Hokkaido Kelp and other Samples – (Store-sampled in Japan Nov-Dec 2013)

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Introductory Summary & Results Overview

The investigation:  9 food samples, bought in stores in Japan (in Iwaki, Kyoto, Nara, Nagano, and Tokyo) between mid-November and early December 2013, were sent to a professional fully-certified independent quality scientific lab in the United States in mid-December 2013 for radioisotope analysis.   Samples measured from 20% to over 400% above local background radiation.

The objective was to find out which radioisotopes precisely caused the elevated radioactivity.  The aim was to check whether or not the Japanese government’s claim that “all their food is perfectly safe to eat” is true (or not) for these samples, as well as to get independent scientific data regarding the spread of radiation from the ongoing Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster through ocean currents over relatively long distances.  (See more further below, where I describe each sample, and my research objectives in detail.)

The samples:

  • 6 kelp seaweeds (from various parts of ‘Hokkaido’, in Northern Japan)
  • 1 nori seaweed (Processed in Fukuoka,  Southern Japan)
  • 1 dried Urume-Iwashi (round herring) fish snack (caught in Bungo Channel area, Japan)
  • Tea sample (Green Tea, growing region unknown, but from Japan)

The tests conducted were:

  • All 9 samples received Gammaspectroscopy Analysis.  
  • Of those 9 samples, unrelated to the gammaspectroscopy results, purely for additional scientific data:  3 kelp seaweed samples were also submitted for Plutonium analysis, Strontium-90 analysis, and Gross Alpha and Gross Beta analysis.  

— This very long blogpost is summarized in the next one, ‘the short version‘.  In this one, an enormous amount of additional details are included, from how I selected the samples, detailed samples description, more test result details, maps with locations, links to the run-up to this investigation, etc.   (Much of this blogpost was written before I had lab results, describing the samples and research objectives at length.  Additional data on natural isotopes, which I’m still waiting on, will be added (hopefully! if they become available…) in a future blogpost.)

WHY I conducted this investigation & Research Context:   

My suspicion and serious concern about the main cause of Fukushima’s radioactive fallout in food grew out of my discovery that some Japanese food (mainly Hokkaido kelps) showed significantly elevated radiation levels.  It is not why I was visiting Japan in autumn 2013 (See also Nov 18, 2013, “A Visit to Fukushima, Cut Short. With PHOTOS and Reflections“), but it is what started this scientific side-project.   

I’ve been concerned that the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster is affecting not only sea life in and near Japan, but also thousands of miles from Japan, and that food in North America may end up containing increasing amounts of man-made radioactive materials.  The cause for this concern, apart from the ongoing disaster in Fukushima on the shore of the Western Pacific, is the impression that government agencies on the Eastern side of the Northern Pacific Ocean (US, Canada, Mexico) are strangely unresponsive to this widespread concern.  

Last spring (2013) when I lived near Arcata, in Northern coastal California, I sent 4 samples to a lab (1 mushrooms, 2 soils, 1 seaweeds – See Northern Humboldt Samples: Lab Results (June 5, 2013)).   The lab results did not particularly raise my concerns (in fact they were somewhat of a relief, too); they just confirmed the need for more testing, especially as to identify where the (very likely) relative hotspots are in North America.  My seaweed sample then, unlike mushrooms and soils, contained only naturally occurring isotopes, not even a trace of Cesium-137 or Iodine-131.  I had not previously observed my Geiger Counter respond to food the way it did to those seaweeds in Japan.

Since then, “elevated levels of radiation” have been observed in California (in rain, as reported by bs-spewing scare-monger EnviroReporter on Nov 27, 2013, and on beach near San Francisco (See ENEnews Jan 4., 2014), yet (this is true regardless of what the cause(s) of these events end up being revealed to be) officials keep making statements about there being ‘no health hazard’, all being ‘below levels of concern’, etc, usually – and this is the problem: – BEFORE having up-to-date location-specific sample radioisotope-analysis data.  Geiger Counters only show elevated levels, they don’t tell you the precise causes; that takes laboratory tests of samples.   Expecting to blow the lid of a potential cover-up, I  decided to go forward with having samples analyzed. 

So, I present a small data puzzle piece here, which may shed a little bit of extra light on the radioactive contamination situation of the Pacific Ocean.   My data is not simulated, anecdotal or speculative, but comes from precise scientific lab tests.  It’s surprisingly good news, especially for seaweed lovers like myself.  The data on man-made radioactivity in my sampled food items is in:

The samples were analyzed for any traces of manmade fission materials, such as Iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137, Cobalt-60, and many others.  Further below, many more details are provided in copies of original reporting, but for the purpose of giving a quick impression of the results in SI units, see this first table with data, below.

For a quick impression, the basics of the lab results are summerized in this overview table.  There isn’t much to see, as the samples’ elevated radioactivity was apparently not from Fukushima, but nearly all from high Potassium content (and thus Potassium-40 – Updated: K40 data now included!):

Figure: Overview of selected sample lab analysis results.  Potassium's Potassium-40 is very clearly was caused the high Geiger Counter measurements. © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2014

Figure: Overview of selected sample lab analysis results. Potassium’s Potassium-40 is very clearly what caused the high Geiger Counter measurements.
© Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2014

  • Many more isotopes were tested for than shown in this overview table, see under ‘Full Disclosure Lab Results’, below.
  • Lab note:  Insufficient sample volumes [less than 150 g] were submitted for Samples 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9.  The results for these samples should be considered qualitative and not quantitative, in other words, Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137 were ‘detected’, but their precise amounts have a larger than standard margin of error, so they cannot be used for scientific calculations that would require quantitative precision.

Summary of findings (more further below):

The significantly elevated radioactivity of these samples, as I measured them with my Medcom Inspector Alert Geiger Counter, are clearly NOT due to radioactive contamination from Fukushima, but rather from naturally occurring radioisotopes, mostly due to impressive Potassium-40 content.  Amazingly, these Japanese seaweeds are simply exceptionally nutritious, NOT contaminated.  

I was very concerned that I would be writing something very different, along the lines of, “My inquiry has revealed that the nuclear industry, near-certainly as a direct result of TEPCO’s [Stock market ticker: 9501:JP] still-leaking Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, has ruined at least part of the previously famously pristine coastal kelp forests of Hokkaido in far-Northern Japan,” (in fact, that is one of the lines of what I had ready in draft before I received the data…), but wow-was-I-wrong my lab results in fact revealed that the elevated radioactivity found in those kelps is in most cases entirely the result of naturally occurring radioisotopes, particularly Potassium-40.  

Although I began considering this possibility recently (see my Jan. 9, 2014 blogpost, “Could (natural, normal) radioactive Potassium-40 (K-40) be the main cause of elevated radiation levels in food?“), this is NOT what I expected to find:

  • 2/3rds of my suspected-to-be-significantly-contaminated samples contained no nuclear pollution at all.  None.   (Scientifically: the detected levels, if there were any, were below quantifiable levels).
  • The levels of artificial radionuclides in the other 1/3rd are extremely low, amounting to no more than unquantifiable ‘trace levels detected’.
  • !-> Eating these samples would actually have been harmless;
  • !!!–>  Geiger Counters, like the Medcom Inspector Alert I used, are so incredibly sensitive to naturally occurring radioisotopes, that any conclusion based on them, both that they might show something ‘alarming‘ or that what they show is ‘of no concern‘, without being backed up with sample-specific lab data, is premature unscientific guess work.
  • One seaweed sample does show evidence of  clearly measurable nuclear contamination (detection of Co-60 in kelp harvested over 500 km from Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Disaster site).
  • !!!–> Naturally occurring radiation can be surprisingly high. Incredibly high Gross Beta is likely entirely, or almost entirely, due to Potassium-40.  Added:  Several days after this blogpoast first appeared, the lab ran the samples again to determine the K40 levels.  They are now included in the tables.  It was indeed K40, which for sample #1 reached a whopping 5,094.9 Bq/kg (!!!).  
  • What precisely caused the elevated Gross Alpha Count in Sample #1 remains a mystery.   More research might shed light on this.  (See more in Conclusions & Reflections section).

Although this is a very small quantity of samples, nevertheless, based on these lab results, which powerfully undermined the grounds for my own concerns for current long-distance nuclear contamination (voiced HEREhereherehereherehere and in the previous blogpost), my own newly-adjusted personal conclusion  is that at least HOKKAIDO SEAWEEDS are essentially SAFE TO EAT (mid-January 2014, subject to change based on other new information).

This independent investigation was conducted by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, and made public through his personal blog,  https://allegedlyapparent.wordpress.com/ For more details about this independent study, its used samples, and the complete lab results, see the complete report @ http://wp.me/puwO9-2oD  The summary is a separate blogpost, found HERE.

 —–     —–     —–     —–   [end introductory summary]     —–     —–      —–      —–     —–

A shorter summary is now available, see next blogpost: http://wp.me/puwO9-2rz

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North America – January 18, 2014 – DISCLAIMER

Introduction

How this inquiry came about:  During my recent visit to Japan, I visited the small coastal town Iwaki in the Fukushima Prefecture (See my blogpost, My Visit to Fukushima w/ Photos – Nov 13, 2013), where I discovered a kelp seaweed for sale in a  small grocery store near the beach, right by Yotsukara Port.  The Kelp package indicated this seaweed originated from Hokkaido, and tested more than 4x above natural background radiation (see my blogpost: 12 samples’ CPM averages – Nov 29, 2013), 6 times even when I pressed into the package.  Since then, I found many examples of food items with elevated radiation in Japan, which radiation dose levels ranged from below 20% to over 300% above background radiation.  What this actually means can not be known without additional lab tests.

I was definitely influenced by the many YouTube videos that showed similar findings and explained with great confidence that this was proof of Fukushima contamination and a cover-up.  If this were so, I wanted to expose this cover-up with undeniable proof.  Some were done by similarly concerned people like myself, not in it to create alarm or hype, but simply having valid concerns.  Here’s an example of such a video, showing 3 times background, which until I had lab tests I also thought would be “dangerous to be ingesting that”:

Annotated Screenshot.  CLICK TO WATCH.

Annotated Screenshot. CLICK TO WATCH.

Particularly the discovery of very obviously radioactively (which I believed to be contaminated) seaweeds, for sale as food ‘without warnings’, as well as not finding any official data on the radioactive contamination of Japan’s most northern big island’s fishery products (See also previous blogpost, ‘According to Japanese Lab tests, Japanese seaweeds are perfectly safe. (Hokkaido not being tested, though?)’, prompted me to look deeper into this.

Finding ocean dispersion models that showed the coast of southern Hokkaido to exceptionally hard hit, more so than closer to the leaking nuclear plan on the coast of Fukushima 500 kilometers to the south, had me convinced I was onto something.   I wrote the (now obviously outdated & faulty) blogpost (Nov. 28, 2013, “Hokkaido Seaweed, how contaminated is it really?“, from which this still from a German Cs-137 ocean dispersion model (click to watch, but note it is just a model, not based on measurements):

Click to watch – See above mentioned blogposts for more on why I believed the Hokkaido Kelps were contaminated with radioactive particles from Fukushima, rather than just very nutritious and rich in Potassium (which contains 0.0118 % naturally occurring radioactive Potassium 40)

That all being said, the remainder of this blogpost is ridiculously long, simply because it is complete, comprehensive, and hides nothing relevant whatsoever.   If you spot an error, please leave a comment.

Contents:

  • Introductory Summary & Results Overview (see above)
  • Introduction (see above)
  • Study Details – (in Sections)

STUDY DETAILS – SECTIONS:

  1. Sample Selection Method
  2. Description 9 Samples (w/ Photos)
  3. Known in advance: 10 Minute CPM Averages compared to Background Radiation
  4. Research Objectives
  5. Full Disclosure: Complete Lab Results
  6. Hokkaido map with Selected Sample Origins & Radiation Data
  7. Conclusions and Reflections

Sample Selection Method

This section (‘Sample Selection Method’) was written before I received the lab results, left unedited:   

Between November 16 and December 9, 2013, as a curious tourist I walked around in grocery stores, supermarkets and fisheries markets in Japan, with a MedCom Inspector Alert (a ‘Geiger Counter’ made by http://medcom.com/, with a  15% margin of error.) and over some minutes observed the area’s background radiation fluctuation, mainly to find out what the upper limit of the natural fluctuation would be.

Incredibly low background radiation in a squeaky-clean grocery store in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan, where some of my samples were bought.  Inside levels remained mostly below 0.140 µSv/hr.  Outside in the street it reached double levels in some places.   Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

Incredibly low background radiation in a squeaky-clean grocery store in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan, one of many places where some of my samples were bought. Inside levels remained below 0.140 µSv/hr.  Outside, at chest level in the street, it easily reached double those levels in many places.  
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.  No photos are to be shared.  All Rights Reserved.

Then, I would put my Geiger Counter on various packages.  If measurements did not go up within 10 seconds, I’d check the next item.  On and on and on.  I did this dozens of times in different places for an hour or more each, whenever I felt like it.  My Geiger Counter did not show an obvious change with nearly all food items, except very noticeably for many products containing seaweed.

An example from the above-shown very clean store: a kelp measuring more than double the upper limit of the natural background fluctuation.    Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven

An example from the same above-shown very clean store: a kelp measuring more than double the upper limit of the natural background fluctuation unpon close proximity to the package.  At contact with the packaging, some seaweeds showed triple background levels.  
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.  All Rights Reserved.

In a few rare cases, I also noticed elevated levels in tea products, fish snacks, and once in bundles of spinach.  But these elevated levels were always relatively small (appearing to add no more than 30 CPMs to background) in comparison to what I noticed with seaweeds.

In seaweeds, I observed  that most Nori and other non-Kelp seaweeds showed no apparent elevated radiation levels (at least not with my Geiger Counter), while many kelp / kombu seaweeds stood out for quickly sending the measurement to double the background radiation or worse.  The most radioactive kelps all originated from Hokkaido locations.

Also noteworthy:  Some Hokkaido seaweeds (no exact coastal area indicated on the packages I checked), however, showed minimally elevated levels (probably <25% above background).  Therefore it cannot be concluded that “all seaweeds” from “all of Hokkaido” are similarly contaminated (or non-contaminated) as the samples I show test results for.

I bought items that I thought would be interesting to send to a lab to find out what precisely they contained.  The final selection of 7 seaweeds was made aiming for:

  • Location-details: 5 kelps for which the specific or general harvest area is known, + that one unusually radioactive kelp, bought in Fukushima, which prompted my inquiry.
  • Seaweed diversity: Aside from the 6 kelp samples, I also included 1 nori seaweed.  (When I sent the samples to a lab I had not learned yet that Sample #7 was not a third type of seaweed but just “shredded kelp”.)
  • Low-level (3 samples): Aside from the Nori seaweed I also picked 2 food items (Dried Round Herring and a package of Green Tea),  to find out more about the significance of low levels of radiation in food (< 25% above test-site background).

— Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation note on shielding & detection:

Because, aside from the particles being lodged in the food itself, and a combined air layer of at least 0.5 to 1.5 mm between the food and the Geiger Counter, the strong plastic packages are easily 3 mils thick, thicker and stronger than common plastic foil or bags (= likely well over 0.076 mm (millimeter) // In the plastics world, the often-used American unit of  “1 mil” is 1/1000th of an inch, or 0.0254 mm). The combination of these layers will shield all Alpha, maybe some Beta, but none of the Gamma radiation.  Bit more info on the ‘shielding’ of the three types of radioactive decay:

  • Alpha particles, generally produced in the process of alpha decay [-> Wiki],  consist of two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle identical to a Helium nucleus. They are relatively slow and heavy.  Because of their charge and large mass, Alpha particles are easily absorbed by materials, and thus have a low penetrating power: they can travel only a few centimetres in air and can be absorbed by tissue paper or the outer layers of human skin (about 0.04 mm, equivalent to a few cells deep).   >0.05 mm of plastic and a bit of air would near-certainly prevent any alpha particles from being detected by the MedCom Geiger Counter.  Alpha emitters are only truly dangerous when inhaled or ingested.  Some key Alpha emitters are: Americium-241 (37,000 Bq of Am-241 can be found in most smoke detectors),  Plutonium-239, naturally occurring Polonium-210, Radon-222, and a few others.
  • Beta particles are high-energy, high-speed electrons or positrons, emitted through beta decay [->Wiki] by certain types of radioactive nuclei such as very carcinogenic Strontium-90 abd Cesium-137, Tritium, Carbon-14, short-lived Iodine-131, and naturally occurring Potassium-40, and others.  (Some of these may decay through gamma and/or alpha decay as well).   Beta has a medium penetrating power:  Most beta particles can be stopped by several layers of aluminum foil or thick plastic.  Given the distance between the slightly radioactive seaweeds and the sensor in the Geiger Counter is a thin plastic layer and some air, Beta rays likely contribute to the measured Counts, through the food’s packaging.
  • Gamma Radiation is electromagnetic radiation of extremely high frequency. They are classically produced by the decay from high energy states of atomic nuclei through gamma decay [->Wiki].  Shielding from gamma rays requires large amounts of mass, in contrast to alpha particles which can be blocked by paper or skin, and beta particles which can be shielded by foil.   Protective clothing, goggles and respirators can protect from internal contact with or ingestion of alpha or beta emitting particles, but provide no protection from gamma radiation from external sources.  Gamma emitters include: cobalt-60,  Iridium-192,  Radium-226 and Radon-222, and many more.  Cesium-137 (Or “Caesium-137”, Cs-137 for short) decays by pure beta decay to a metastable state of barium-137 (137mBa).  Barium-137m has a half-life of minutes and is responsible for all of the gamma ray emission.  The ground state of barium-137 is stable. On decaying,  Iodine-131 also emits gamma: most often (89% of the time) it expends its 971 keV of decay energy by transforming into the stable Xenon-131 in 2 steps, with gamma decay following rapidly after beta decay.  Thus elevated gamma radiation levels can indicate depositions of Iodine and Cesium as well.  For Iodine to be a factor in food, it would have to have been harvested no more than a few months before testing.

The following describes the final selection of 9 samples, in as much detail as I had.  The all-inclusiveness, hiding-nothing approach, is what’s making this blogpost so long.

Description 9 Samples (w/ Photos)

Notice:  This section (‘Description of 9 Samples’) was also written before I received the lab results, edits made since are shown with strikethrough, ‘Added’ notes, and green-colored characters.

Overview of the 9 numbered ‘slightly radioactive Japanese food samples‘ before mailing them to the lab:

Overview of 9 samples sent to lab for radioisotope analysis. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven - All Rights Reserved.

Overview of 9 samples sent to lab for radioisotope analysis. Red text and squares added to clarify which samples contained more than 1 package (to increase test material weight).
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven – All Rights Reserved.

!!!–> PLEASE NOTE – this applies to all my samples: If anyone did pass along my concern to food production/sales businesses, (whether or not items were pulled from the shelves), PLEASE call ‘m back again and make sure they get to see these lab results too, which proof these products are in fact safe to eat; and that I was completely mistaken to belief that the elevated radioactivity was likely mostly from Fukushima.  

I apologize if my previous reports caused anyone additional stress.  

Each sample (1 – 9) described in as much detail as I have:

Sample #1:   Mentioned in my visit to Fukushima blogpost (Nov 18, 2013), which prompted me to scrutinize the radiation levels of various foods for sale in Japan more closely, leading to the discovery that many kelps are contaminated measuring significantly elevated radioactivity levels, although none of such seaweeds I found was as extreme as this type:

Front and Back of Sample # 1

Front and Back of Sample # 1.  TEST FOR EVERYTHING (detailed test results further below)

  • Contents:  Dried KELP Seaweed
  • Weight:  150 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin: Likely from near Fukushima Town, in Southern Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 504 % BG  (404% above background radiation – as tested 2 weeks later in Nagano – See this package’s inclusion in the Twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests  (Nov. 29, 2013)
    • Added 1556 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).
    • Viewing the dose rate fluctuation, this meant that values to just above 0.8 µSv/hr, were observed in Iwaki the day I bought it, as well as later on.  This means as much as some 0.66 µSv/hr of gamma & beta (and unknown amount of alpha) radiation, above the local 0.135 µSv/hr background gamma radiation,  was being emitted at package-level  (measured w/ Geiger Counter laying on the package).  See reported observation at my visit to the Fukushime Prefecture (Nov. 18, 2013).

Notes on this Kelp’s (Sample #1) likely location of origin:  Based on the business’ phone number, this Kelp may have been (or was quite likely) harvested on the far-southern tip of south-western Hokkaido’s peninsula, just across the strait from Aomori.   Zooming in shows this is right by a place called “Fukushima Town, Hokkaido“:

Hokkaido Location linked to telephone number on package.  All this information is readily available through googling.   It is NOT KNOWN if the seaweed was harvested near this location.

Hokkaido Location linked to telephone number on package. All this information is readily available through googling. It is NOT KNOWN if the seaweed was harvested near this location.

Other packages from the same brand in the same store near Iwaki (Fukushima) tested the same: clearly all similarly appearing to be potentially quite contaminated.

Some people I showed this to in and near Iwaki were very suspicious of its supposed origin and told me privately that it was “not unlikely” to have been “harvested on the Fukushima Coast, but repackaged to make it look like it came from Hokkaido”, so it would still sell.  This was purely speculative. I have no evidence to make such an accusation.  I am simply mentioning it ’cause several people had a hard time believing this particular kelp really came from Hokkaido, so far away from the leaking Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants.  Given other kelps from relatively nearby in southern Hokkaido also tested radioactive ly contaminated, I’m more inclined to believe it is indeed from there.

There are two telephone numbers shown on this kelp package (this is all public information): An easy Google Search links one to the probably seaweed production business in Hokkaido,  and one to the point of sale business by the Yotsukara Port near the beach I visited north of Iwaki.

One of the phone numbers, probably links to the business owner of the very closeby business, where this type of radioactive seaweed was for sale in mid-November 2013.  Showing the measurement to people in and outside the store was met with smiles and disinterest. No one spoke English.   SOURCE for map shown:  http://www.jpnumber.com/numberinfo_0246_32_8075.html

One of the phone numbers, probably links to the business owner of the very closeby business, where this type of radioactive seaweed was for sale in mid-November 2013. Showing the measurement to people in and outside the store was met with smiles and disinterest.   No one spoke English.  SOURCE for map shown: http://www.jpnumber.com/numberinfo_0246_32_8075.html  It was not known to me at that time that such elevated radiation levels in food could be entirely due to naturally-occurring and supposedly not dangerous Potassium-40.

Sample #2:   This high-quality Kelp from Hokkaido was also included in the twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests on Nov 29, 2013.  I bought it at a very nice market stand / store in the downtown Kyoto fisheries market:

Yamadashi, a high-quality Kelp from Kobui, Hokkaido.  The store's label described it as, "the most popular and reasonable price item.  Many mothers use this kelp when she cooks her Japanese miso soup for the family.  It comes from Kobui, Hokkaido."

Yamadashi, a high-quality Kelp from southern Hokkaido.  The store’s label (inserted) described it as, “the most popular and reasonable price item. Many mothers use this kelp when she cooks her Japanese miso soup for the family. It comes from Kobui, Hokkaido.”

  • Contents:  Dried (‘Yamadashi’) KELP Seaweed
  • Weight:  130 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:  Kobui, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 319 % BG  (219% above background radiation – as tested in Nagano, a couple days after buying it downtown Kyoto – See this package’s inclusion in the twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests on Nov 29, 2013)
    • Added 845 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).
    • Viewing the dose rate fluctuation, this meant that values toaround 0.4 µSv/hr, were observed in Nagano the week after I bought it in Kyoto.  This means as much as some 0.3 µSv/hr of gamma & beta radiation, above the local 0.081 µSv/hr background gamma radiation, was being emitted at package-level  (measured w/ Geiger Counter laying on the package).

I indicated Kobui, Hokkaido on this map, below, the location where Sample #2 came from, as well as marked the likely location for Sample #1’s origin.  As you can see, these are less than 100 km from each other, both over 500 kilometers (possibly much longer, depending on ocean currents’ paths) from the leaking Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Site.

Origine Location of Sample #2: a Kelp from Kobui, Hokkaido, some 500 kilometers away from the leaking Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Site.

Origine Location of Sample #2: a Kelp from Kobui, Hokkaido, some 500 kilometers away from the leaking Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Site.

Kobui is barely 10 kilometers west of Cape Esan, Hokkaido.  The fact that several other seaweeds from these southern Hokkaido coasts also measured measurably more radioactive than most foods tells me that Sample #1 may very well be from where it is said to originate from (that general area of southern Hokkaido), with no foul play at work.   (The assumption was that the radioactivity was a result of nuclear contamination, not because of very nutritious cold water currents feeding into these kelp forests…)

Sample #3:   The first three samples also received analysis for Strontium-90, Plutonium 239/240, and a Gross Alpha & Gross Beta Count analysis.  Because these tests are very expensive, I limited it to the most extreme (sample 1), and picked two known Hokkaido locations (one in the south (Sample #2), and one in the north (this Sample #3).

Because of Sample #3 harvest location, all the way in Northern Hokkaido’s west coast, entirely “around the northern Cape / corner” so to speak, I was surprised (because I assumed an industrial cause) that even kelp from this areas showed an elevated level.

Sample # 3 - A Kosher Kombu Kelp from the kelp forests surrounding two little islands just west of Hokkaido's northern tip.

Sample # 3 – A Kosher Kombu Kelp from the kelp forests surrounding two little islands just west of Hokkaido’s northern tip.

  • Contents:  Dried Kosher Kombu KELP Seaweed
  • Weight:  70 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:   The area surrounding the Rebun & Rishiri Islands, Northern Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 175.4 % BG  (75 % above background radiation – as tested near Salt Lake City, Utah, upon return to the US mid-December 2013:
      • Test details:  Grantsville, Utah (higher elevation) on table at a friend’s home, December 12, 2013.   Background Level consisted of 984 Counts in 23 minutes, which averages to 42.8 CPM (Note:  This indoor BG level is likely on the low end for this location, I’ve observed indoor 3-hour averages as high as 68 CPM weeks later in the same region.  “% above background” used in each sample is relative to the BG observed at the sample testing location just a few hours maximum before the sample was tested. I learned from this that establishing a more accurate ‘natural background fluctuation range’, especially at higher elevation, requires testing over at least several hours daily over a period of weeks.)  My Geiger Counter measured 4073 Counts in 54 minutes for Sample #3 (averages to 75.4 CPM);  (Measuring times were doubled or more to compensate for the observed higher fluctuations at higher altitude. This test location lies at about 1370 m (4,500 ft); while Nagano, Japan lies at just 374 m (1227 ft.).))
    • => Added an average of 326 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).  At this test site’s higher elevation, the observed dose rate fluctuation (in µSv/hr) can be very erratic; I did not establish its fluctuation range.

Sample # 3’s location of origin in the north in relation to the other Hokkaido samples:

Sample # 3 originated from the Kelp beds surrounding Rebun or Rishiro Islands, just west of the tip of Northern Hokkaido, Japan.  Also indicated on this basic Hokaido map are the approximate origins of the other 5 kelp samples.  Harvest locations of samples are approximate, based solely on what was stated on the packages.  NOTICE post-lab-results:  All samples turned out perfectly safe to eat.

(The phone number on the packages links to a location in Saitama, just north of Tokyo, probably the grocery store HQ or an importing business.)

Both Sample #3 and Sample #4 were bought in Tokyo during my last 5 days in Japan, in a grocery store upstairs from the Akihabara JR Station, next to a Starbucks.  The shelve from which I picked both samples #3 & #4 (circled):

Sample # 3 & #4, bought at a Akihabara grocery store in Tokyo, Japan, between December 5 & dec 10, 2013.

Sample # 3 & #4, bought at a Akihabara grocery store in Tokyo, Japan, between December 6 & Dec 9, 2013.

Sample #4:  Also shown in the above photo.  This Kelp Seaweed originated from the distinct southern tip of central Hokkaido’s southern coast.  The tip itself is called Cape Erimo.

Sample #4, a Kelp / Kombu from the area near Southern Central Hokkaido's Cape Erimo; bought in Tokyo in early december 2013

Sample #4, a Kelp / Kombu from the area near Southern Central Hokkaido’s Cape Erimo; bought in Tokyo in early December 2013.  Packages often indicate where the Kelp was harvested, and where the final product (Kombu) is made or sold.

  • Contents:  Dried Kosher Kombu KELP Seaweed
  • Weight:  80 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:   Near Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 184 % BG  (84 % above background radiation – as tested near Salt Lake City, Utah, upon return to the US mid-December 2013:
      • Test details:  Grantsville, Utah, on table at a friend’s home, December 12, 2013.   Background Level consisted of 984 Counts in 23 minutes, which averages to 42.8 CPM.  Sample measured 1577 Counts in 20 minutes for Sample #4 (averages to 78.85 CPM);  (Measuring times were doubled or more to compensate for the observed higher fluctuations at higher altitude.)   This test location was located at about 1370 m (4,500 ft); while Nagano, Japan lies at just 374 m (1227 ft.).))
    • => Added an average of 360 ‘Counts’ (alpha/beta) in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).  At this test site’s higher elevation, the observed dose rate fluctuation (in µSv/hr) can be very erratic; I did not establish its fluctuation range.

Sample #5:  A KELP Seaweed from Southern Hokkaido’s coastal area west and south-west of Cape Erimo:

Overlapping with the region Sample #4 was harvested, but going further out and west of Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido, Japan

Overlapping with the region Sample #4 was harvested, but going further out and west of Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido, Japan

  • Contents:  Dried KELP Seaweed
  • Weight:  70 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:  West of Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 229 % BG  (129% above background radiation – as tested in Nagano – See this package’s inclusion in the twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests on Nov 29, 2013)
    • Added an average of 497 ‘Counts’ (beta/gamma) in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).
    • Viewing the dose rate fluctuation, this meant that values were observed to mostly stay just below 0.3 µSv/hr.  This means about 0.2 µSv/hr of gamma radiation, above the local 0.081 µSv/hr background radiation, was being emitted at package-level  (measured w/ Geiger Counter laying on the package).

Approximate harvest region is indicated (“#5”) on Hokkaido maps shown above.

Sample #6:  A Nori Seaweed sold at a regular supermarket.  Nori seaweeds rarely showed elevated levels.  Nori production tends to be further south, while kelps are more common in the colder northern waters.  Some (radioactivity ocean dispersion, such as the one I mentioned in my Nov 28, 2013 blogpost with video screenshots, Hokkaido Seaweed, how contaminated is it really?) simulation models hint at more of Fukushima-Daiichi’s radioactive contamination reaching northern shores, compared to southern ones.

This nori sample measured 40% above background during my tests in Nagano, Japan.  Harvested in Southern Japan, likely near Fukuoka.

Sample # 6 consisted of 20 sheets of Nori Seaweed from Japan.

Sample # 6 consisted of 20 sheets of Nori Seaweed from Japan.

  • Contents:  Dried Nori Seaweed
  • Weight:  (doesn’t say on outside packaging)  Contains 2 x 10 sheets.  Most sheets weigh about 3 g, which would make Sample #6’s weighs about 60 grams (dry weight).  NOTE: some of my samples are below the preferred 200 gram minimum sample weight for testing, which can increase the margin of error a little bit.
  • Origin:  Processed in Fukuoka.  Harvest area ‘Japan’. (Phone number and Postal Code on package both correspond with a business in Osaka, Japan, in the Kansai region southwest of Kyoto.  This is most likely the manufacturer’s location, possibly but not necessarily even near the harvesting site, which thus remains vague (‘Japan’, specifics unknown).
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 140 % BG  (40 % above background radiation – as tested in Nagano – See this package’s inclusion in the twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests on Nov 29, 2013)
    • Added an average of 156 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).
    • Viewing the dose rate fluctuation, this meant that values were observed to mostly stay just below and up to around 0.2 µSv/hr.  This means roughly 0.1 µSv/hr of gamma radiation, above the local 0.081 µSv/hr background radiation, was being emitted at package-level  (measured w/ Geiger Counter laying on the package).

Processed in Fukuoka makes it likely it was harvested somewhere on the southern island of Kyushu, where traditionally many of not most nori seaweed comes from.  I tested many Nori seaweeds and, unlike with Kelps, it was very rare to find elevated radiation levels in Nori seaweeds.

Fukuoka, in Northern Kyushu on map:

Most Nori Seaweeds I tested showed no elevated levels whatsoever.  I included one I did find to find out more about low-level radioation levels in food.   Shown on Map is the islands of Kyushu in relation to the Fukushima nuclear disaster site.

Most Nori Seaweeds I tested showed no elevated levels whatsoever. I included one I did find to find out more about low-level radioation levels in food.  Shown on Map is the islands of Kyushu in relation to the Fukushima nuclear disaster site.

Sample #7:  This “Kizami Kobu” is a 100% Hokkaido ‘shredded kelp’.  The package says it comes from “Eastern Hokkaido”, a rather large area – see map above on which “#7” is also marked.

“Kizami Kobu” is 'shredded kelp' in the literal translation.  The package says it comes from "Eastern Hokkaido", a rather large area - see map above on which "#7" is marked.

“Kizami Kobu” is ‘shredded kelp’ in the literal translation. The package says it comes from “Eastern Hokkaido”, a rather large area – see map above on which “#7” is marked.

  • Contents:  (Shredded) Kelp Seaweed
  • Weight:  3 packages of 26 g each = 72 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:  Eastern Hokkaido, Japan
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 294 % BG  (194 % above background radiation – as tested in Nagano – See this package’s inclusion in the twelve 10 minute CPM averages tests on Nov 29, 2013)
    • Added an average of 746 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).
    • Viewing the dose rate fluctuation, this meant that values were observed to reach as high as 0.4 µSv/hr.  This means roughly 0.3 µSv/hr of gamma radiation, above the local 0.081 µSv/hr background radiation, was being emitted at package-level  (measured w/ Geiger Counter laying on the package).

See ‘Eastern Hokkaido’ indicated on the map shown at the end of the description of Sample #3.

Sample #8:  Dried ‘Round Herring’, a fish snack from a Kyoto convenience store (Lawsons):

Sample # 8: Dried Sardines, a seafood snack  found at many convenience stores in Japan.  A quick in-store measurement showed a very small level of elevated radiation.  I included this sample in this investigation to find out more details about low levels of radiation in foods.

Sample # 8: Dried Sardines, a seafood snack found at many convenience stores in Japan. A quick in-store measurement showed a very small level of elevated radiation. I included this sample in this investigation to find out more details about low levels of radiation in foods.

  • Contents:  Dried Urume-Iwashi (round herring) fish snack (of the same family sardines are also in.  Urume-Iwashi is sometimes called “imitation sardine”, but Ma-Iwashi = Japanese sardine; while Urume-Iwashi = round herring; Both ma- and urume-iwashi are of the family Clupeidae.  
  • Weight:  3 packages of 16 g each = 48 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:  Japan.  Caught in the ‘Bungo Channel’ area, a strait separating the Japanese islands of Kyūshū and Shikoku.  It connects the Pacific Ocean and Seto Inland Sea, see map below.  
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 117.9 % BG  (roughly 17 % above background radiation – as tested near Salt Lake City, Utah, upon return to the US mid-December 2013:
      • Test details:  Farmington, Utah, on dinner table at a friend’s home, mid-December 2013.   Background Level consisted of 2127 counts in 30 minutes = 60.14 CPM.  Sample #8 measured 1577 Counts in 20 minutes, which averages to 70.9 CPM;  (Measuring times were doubled or more to compensate for the observed higher fluctuations at higher altitude.)   This test location was located at about 1,310 m (4,300 ft); while Nagano, Japan lies at just 374 m (1227 ft.).))
    • => Added an average of about 107 ‘Counts’ (beta/gamma) in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).  At this test site’s higher elevation, the observed dose rate fluctuation (in µSv/hr) can be very erratic; I did not establish its fluctuation range.

Map of region showing where these Round Herrings were reportedly caught in:

Bongu

Water contaminated with radioactive particles from the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Site would have to travel a very minimum of over 1300 km (800 mi) before reaching the Bongu Channel area.

Like most Nori seaweeds, most fish I tested with my Geiger Counter did not show noticeably elevated radiation levels either.

Sample #9:  Ooi Ocha (“Hey, Green Tea!”), a Green Tea sample (Green Tea with green tea powder, made by ‘Ito-En‘, bought at a Narita (Tokyo) Airport souvenir shop):

Sample # 9: Green Tea, bought on December 10, 2013 in a Narita (Tokyo) Airport Souvenir shop.

Sample # 9: Green Tea, bought on December 10, 2013 in a Narita (Tokyo) Airport Souvenir shop, upon leaving Japan.  The tea package is shown here with the receipt laying on the bag, with backside details inserted.

  • Contents:  Green Tea with Matcha (green tea powder), made by ‘Ito-En‘, bought upon leaving Japan at a Narita (Tokyo) Airport souvenir shop).
  • Weight:  100 grams (dry weight)
  • Origin:  Japan  (specific grown region unknown to me)
  • Radioactivity through packaging:
    • 122.57 % BG  (roughly 22 % above background radiation – as tested near Salt Lake City, Utah, upon return to the US mid-December 2013:
      • Test details:  Farmington, Utah, on dinner table at a friend’s home, mid-December 2013.   Background Level consisted of 2127 counts in 30 minutes = 60.14 CPM.  Sample #9 measured 1548 Counts in 21 minutes, which averages to 73.7 CPM;  (Measuring times were doubled or more to compensate for the observed higher fluctuations at higher altitude.)   This test location was located at about 1,310 m (4,300 ft); while Nagano, Japan lies at just 374 m (1227 ft.).))
    • => Added an average of about 136 ‘Counts’ in 10 minutes to the local background radiation at (unopened) package-surface level (Geiger Counter laying on the package).  At this test site’s higher elevation, the observed dose rate fluctuation (in µSv/hr) can be very erratic; I did not establish its fluctuation range.

Note:  A friend of a friend of a friend (Facebook can be handy…) telephoned Ito-En, one of the biggest green tea manufacturers in Japan, and asked about the radioactivity of their products.  Ito-En reportedly answered that, “their drinks of brewed green tea contain no more than 10 Bq/L, meaning that if you use 2 Tbsp of tea leaf (5 gram) for 1 cup of hot water (200ml), the drink would contain no more than  2 Bq of Cs-134 & Cs-137 (combined max).   The green tea leaf, however, could contain higher levels of radioactive content.”  Simple math thus tells me that if 5g of tea powder (leaf) releases a maximum of 2Bq to the tea water, then such a maximum-contaminated tea power would contain a minimum of 400 Bq/kg of Cs-137 % 134 combined.

Lab test revealed less than 2 Bq/kg of combined radioCesiums, making the manmade radioactivity in a cup of tea made from this sample practically undetectable.

10 Minute CPM Averages compared to Background Radiation

This section too was written before I had lab results.

Background Radiation of test sites at time and specific indoor locations of testing:

  • Nagano City, Japan:…………….CPM:  38.5
  • Grantsville, Utah, USA:…..CPM: 42.8  (Note:  Later indoor averages measured here, some over many hours in January 2014, were higher)
  • Farmington, Utah, USA:…..CPM: 60.1 CPM  (Note:  Later indoor averages measured here, some over many hours and days in early January 2014, ranged between 64 and 68 CPM, likely affected by cosmic ray fluctuations.)

NOTICE:   “% above background” is a problematic reporting “unit”.  “CPM added” is better:

The reporting in “% above background”, as commonly seen by other people taking amateur Geiger Counter measurements is problematic, in my opinion, because: as such, the percentage is as much determined by the radioactive sample as by the background radiation, thus distorting the results depending on the (BG of the) location it was tested at.  At higher elevations, for instance, the “% above BG” are going to be lower than at sea level, because the background radiation level at higher elevation can be double or more than at sea level.   The “Average number of ‘Counts’ added to BG over a period of time”, such as “average added CPM to BG” is therefor a much better way to describe the observed elevated radiation levels.

I present both, ordered from likely most radioactive to likely least.  All this rudimentary Geiger Counter data and sample details were processed and described BEFORE I received the lab results:

Sample #:  % above BG — Avg. CPM added to BG  (Type – approximate location)

  • Sample #1:  404 % —-  155 CPM    (Kelp – South-Western tip of Hokkaido)
  • Sample #2:  219 % —–  84 CPM    (Kelp – Kobui, South-Western Hokkaido)
  • Sample #7:  + 194 % —–  74 CPM   (Shredded Kelp – “Eastern Hokkaido”, including locations just East of Cape Erimo & Eastern South Hokkaido)
  • Sample #5:  + 129 % —–  49 CPM    (Kelp – West of Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido)
  • Sample #4:  + 84 % ——  + 36 CPM    (Kelp -Near Cape Erimo, Southern Central Hokkaido)
  • Sample #3:  + 75 % ——  32 CPM    (Kelp – Northern Hokkaido)
  • Sample #6:  + 40 % ——  15 CPM    (Nori – Kyushu, Southern Japan)
  • Sample #9:  + 22 % ——  + 13 CPM    (Green Tea – Japan)
  • Sample #8:  + 17 % ——-  10 CPM   (Round Herring (fish) – Southern Japan)

BG = background radiation at test site around the same time.  CPM = Counts Per Minute.  CPMs were rounded down <0.9 CPM.  My pre-lab tests were performed with a MedCom Inspector Alert.

Research Objectives

The reasons why I decided to go forward with this comprehensive sample analysis:

  • How much of the radiation in food is actually from Potassium-40 (K-40)?

(This aim was actually added AFTER I mailed in my samples.)   Although the claim that “it’s just Potassium” is sometimes made by (usually pro-nuclear) people when faced with potentially alarming Geiger Counter measurements, there is NO WAY to know this for sure unless someone conducts comprehensive lab tests.  See also my Jan 9, 2014 blogpost, “Could (natural, normal) radioactive Potassium-40 (K-40) be the main cause of elevated radiation levels in food?“, in which I drew attention to an analysis by the University of Maine, which found Potassium-40 responsible for 930 Bq/kg in local seaweeds, and called this “well within the range expected for seaweed”.   If completely natural radiation from K-40 can be around 1000 Bq/kg for seaweeds (or who knows where the upper limit lies?),  many times more than bananas, would that explain my Geiger Counter measurements, or is K-40 only a part (big or small) of what’s in my samples?   (K-40 is safe, while similar concentrations of Cs-137, Sr-90, Pu-239 or I-131 aren’t.)

In any case, from what I can tell, whatever is not from man-made radiation sources, is going to be near-certainly almost entirely from naturally occurring Potassium-40, which emits both beta and gamma radiation.

  • Is all Japanese Food ‘safe’, as the Japanese government claims?

Instead of taking random samples, like US EPA and Japanese officials do, I went searching for what had clearly elevated radiation levels.  If my samples are safe, (then at least as far as I am concerned; and as long as widespread frequent testing continues with integrity in Japan), then I suppose food in Japan is, for the most part, quite likely fairly safe indeed.  If not, then it’s not as safe as officials keep claiming.  (See also: Bloomberg: “Japan Says Food ‘Guaranteed’ Safe by Tests for Radiation Levels” – Sep 3, 2013.) 

Does an extra 100 CPM in seafood really pose no health risk?  The only way to find out is to have it thoroughly lab tested to see which isotopes is adding the CPMs.

On a side-note, I’m of the opinion that independent oversight is crucial to cultivate a trustworthy food safety culture.  I didn’t go to Japan to perform that task, but I suppose I became part of ‘independent oversight’ through this little investigation I conducted.  Japan’s Secrecy Act, passed while I was in Japan (See my blogpost ‘Orwellian Japan’ Nov 28, 2013) could be used to interfere with independent investigative journalism just like this, making it possibly socially riskier for Japanese to do this themselves.)  

Part of my curiosity about Japanese food supposedly NOT containing dangerous levels of radioactive particles, is that the US and Canadian governments make the very same claim about food for sale in North America, based on far less food testing. Often-quoted Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, claims U.S. seafood has not been affected by the nuclear disaster in Japan.  Mr. Buesseler writes that fish contaminated with cesium exceeding Japanese limits are not being sold internally, nor exported, either.   (Food Safety News – Sept 12, 2013).  

If there’s nothing of concern in my samples, and many other people also do independent investigations and we all find nothing particularly troubling, then I suppose it would be silly to maintain my very skeptical stance towards all these reassuring official statements.   Otherwise: 

  • Can I identify an “Added CPM” level for sample tests with a Geiger Counter after which I may assume it’s no longer safe to eat?  

Many people have Geiger Counters and some post reports about elevated CPM averages for food and have been reporting widespread elevated levels, but what these elevated CPMs actually correspond with as far as their radioisotope content, for whatever reason apparently almost none of these fellow amateur independent researchers don’t point out that lab results are REQUIRED to figure that out.  

As long as you don’t seek the data to back up your claim that it is ‘troubling’, ‘hot’ or somehow ‘dangerous’, these guess-work assessments are not any better than the official ones saying that such levels are nothing to be concerned about.   So, I seek to increase clarity for this simple question: What level of contamination is my Geiger Counter actually alerting me of?  Which specific isotopes are in there and how much of each?  Can I identify an “Added CPM” level after which I may reasonably assume it’s no longer safe to eat?   

It’s also the other way around: we can find thousands of lab results showing various levels of radioactive contamination (see results for dozens of seaweeds sampled by Japan), without getting a clue how a common Geiger Counter might responds to such a sample.  Neither sets of information are particularly empowering.  This is the reason I also picked a couple samples with relatively low levels (Samples #7, #8 & #9)  But as far as an indication of radioactive particles?   Is that level already troubling?  I don’t know.  No one seems to really know. Without knowing this, a Geiger Counter is pretty much useless for the purpose most people wish they could use it for: find out if food is safe to eat or not. 

So, that’s my main reason: independent research which, depending on results, could be the beginning for ordinary people like myself to be able to roughly estimate radiation food safety ourselves, without time-consuming and extremely expensive lab tests, and so we can also rely less on them so-called “experts” or “authorities” who seem only capable of making statements “to reassure the public that all is well,” based on even less data (examples here, here and here, and [added:] most noteably the recent declaration, before sampling has even started (!), that ‘nothing concerning’ will be found in ‘Kelp Watch 2014’, according to Kai Vetter, the professor at the University of California, Berkeley who would collect the samples, and also just happens to be the head of the Applied Nuclear Physics program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the educational & research cornerstones of the nuclear industrial establishment).  If that’s their attitude, then -sorry to say, but- “Kelp Watch 2014” sounds less scientific than what I’m doing, and certainly less ‘independent’ of potential meddling with data by industry forces.

  • Coastal seaweed contamination over 500 km from the leaking reactors would add knowledge to the extend and severity of long-distance effects of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster.   Could the data (at least if they are significant) serve as an “early warning” for areas much further away, such as for Canada, the US and Mexico? 

I want to know what the coastal contamination many hundreds of miles away from the leaking plant actually IS.  Not ‘simulated’, ‘estimated’ or ‘modeled’, but actually measured, based on scientifically tested seaweed food samples from very specific areas.  Results would be different for concentrations in water, sediment, fish, different types of seaweeds, etc., but as a tourist with just a Geiger Counter, not a research boat and a sizable research budget, I simply selected ‘slightly radioactive’ seaweed samples that were sold in packages with maps showing the region of origin.  They all happened to be from along the Hokkaido coasts.   I was not trying to zoom in on any part of Japan.  That southern Hokkaido appeared to be more seriously affected by contaminated ocean currents on some simulation models increased my curiosity to get to the bottom of this.

If the elevated radioactivity turns out to be manmade indeed, then these test results may hint of what over 2 years of off-and-on (or constant?) exposure to Fukushima’s long-distance ocean contamination means for relatively far away coastal kelp beds.

Part of my interest is to find out whether or not there’s any basis in being concerned about Fukushima’s effects on habitats along the North American West Coast.  In particular the claim of some scientists that radioactive particles are said to stay surprisingly close together while traveling over thousands of miles (dilluting less over long distances – See this study, for instance; or even re-concentrating thousands of miles away – See this study); and that the Northern California area I love so much may be hit disproportionately, according to some models (See this overview of various models on Washington’s Blog Aug 20, 2013), starting around now (early 2014).  

Maybe my lab results will inspire some more people to have samples analyzed so a clearer picture of the actual realities can be assembled.   Once the reality is seen much more clearly, perhaps hotspots can be found in the ocean before they reach sensitive coastal habitats, and helpful responses may be found too?  (In any case, I hope this is somehow helpful)

The distances of my Hokkaido kelp samples from the assumed contamination on the Fukushima coast ranges from a minimum of 500 km in the south (for samples #2, #4, #5) to most likely well over 1000 km for currents to reach the northern location of sample #3.   The distance between the leaking Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Site and Cape Erimo on Hokkaido’s southern coast, is about 300 miles (or roughly 500 kilometers).  TEPCO’s radioactive contamination that reaches Hokkaido by ocean current has likely traveled in a far more erratic path, likely traveling double, triple, or even more times that distance, and may also include both complex horizontal as well as vertical movements.  Contamination concentrations that have reached areas as far away as Hokkaido may thus, possibly even in similar concentrations, also expose areas of Eastern Russia, Alaska, British Colombia, Washington, Oregon, California and Baja California for extended periods to come.    The simulation model(s) may be wrong, though.  Depending on dispersion, regardless of my lab results, it remains possible that much higher concentrations of nuclear pollution will reach parts of the North-American shores.  If significant, however, these results could serve as an early warning.  

Maybe there are steps that could be taken to limit the damage, such as adding zeolite or graphine oxide to ecologically most-significant ocean environments, or so?

Full Disclosure Lab Results

To convert from picoCurie per gram (pCi/g) to Becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg), multiply by 37.  See also my handy Radiation Units & Conversions page.   Text is mainly from the lab results by EMSL Analytics, Inc and subcontractor(s), with my emphasis, small edits, and additions in green.

In this section:

  • Overview table (repeated)
  • Gamma-spectroscopy Results
  • Gross Alpha & Gross Beta Analysis Results
  • Strontium-90 & Plutonium-239/240 Results

The quick overview table again:

Figure: Overview of selected sample lab analysis results.  Potassium's Potassium-40 is very clearly was caused the high Geiger Counter measurements. © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2014

Figure: Overview of selected sample lab analysis results. Potassium’s Potassium-40 is very clearly was caused the high Geiger Counter measurements.
© Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2014

– Laboratory Report –

Part 1:  Gamma Spectroscopy

Project: Radioisotope Analysis of Slightly Radioactive Food for Sale in Japan Autumn 2013

  • Procurement of Samples and Analytical Overview:

All of the samples that were submitted for Gamma Spectroscopy analysis were received on December 16, 2013.  The Seaweed samples (Samples 1-7) were chopped and cut to homogenize the samples and fit into the counting container. The Fish Snack sample (Sample #8) and the Green Tea sample (Sample #9) were analyzed in their entirety.

Insufficient sample volumes were submitted for Samples 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9.  The results for these samples should be considered qualitative and not quantitative.  [meaning that the 1.8 Bq/kg detected Cesium-137 in the tea, and the detected 1.4 Bq/kg Cobalt-60 in one kelp ONLY mean that a very small detectable amount of ‘Cs-137’ and Co-60, respectively, were found, but that the uncertainty about the stated activity quantity is too large to use ‘m for calculations, for instance.]

All samples were counted for 8 hours to help achieve lower detection limits.

All samples were analyzed using the EMSL “Food” Library to look for specific isotopes.  The FDA has stated that, “Iodine-131 (I-131), Cesium-134 (Cs-134) and Cesium-137 (Cs-137) are the radionuclides of greatest concern to the food supply following a nuclear power plant accident. Along with those three radionuclides, FDA also monitors others as needed – among them, Strontium-90, Ruthenium-103 (Ru-103) and Ruthenium-106 (Ru-106).”  This FDA webpage also contains a link to a page which describes the “interventional limits” for radioisotopes in foods. -CPG Sec. 560.750 Radionuclides in Imported Foods – Levels of Concern, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/UCM074576

FDAinterventionLevels)EMSLdoceportMVB

Screenshot of introduction in the pdf document with lab results.

(b) Applicable to foods as prepared for consumption. For dried or concentrated products such as powdered milk or concentrated juices, adjust by a factor appropriate to reconstitution, and assume the reconstitution water is not contaminated. For spices, which are consumed in very small quantities, use a dilution factor of 10.

(c) Due to the large differences in DILs for Ruthenium-103 and Ruthenium-106, the individual concentrations of Ruthenium-103 and Ruthenium-106 are divided by their respective DILs and then summed. The DIL for the Ruthenium group is set at less than one. C3 and C6 are the concentrations, at the time of measurement, for Ruthenium-103 and Ruthenium-106, respectively.

There is no intervention limit for Potassium-40, as it is natural and always part of Potassium, an essential nutrient.  

  • Please see the results below for the sample submitted for analysis.

Gamma-spectroscopy Results:

Samples_1_2_3_EMSL_MVB2014

Samples_4_5_6_EMSL_MVB_2014

Samples_7_8_9_EMSL_MVB_2014

Because I wanted to know why Gross Beta was so high, and specifically if it could be from Potassium, the lab agreed to run the samples again.  Potassium-40 was indeed detected  in high quantities.  The Results were emailed to me on Monday afternoon January, 2014:

EMSL Analytical, Inc. was very helpful in helping me to get to the bottom of the high Gorss Beta data.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. was very helpful in helping me to get to the bottom of the high Gorss Beta data.  Very clearly now, the high radiation measurements were from exceptional Potassium levels.  Safe to eat!  ;-)

Part 2: Gross Alpha/Beta

Project: Radioisotope Analysis of Slightly Radioactive Food for Sale in Japan – Autumn 2013.  For Pu-239/240 and S-90 analysis, EMSL Analytical Inc. (New Jersey) sub-contracted out to PaceLabs Analytical (Pennsylvania).

  • Procurement of Samples and Analytical Overview:

The seaweed samples (Samples 1, 2, and 3) that were submitted for Gross Alpha/Beta analysis were received on December 16, 2013. An aliquot of each sample was taken and placed into a designated centrifuge tube whereby each sample was digested in a hotblock digester with nitric and hydrochloric acid for several hours and then taken to dryness.   To each sample 5mL of concentrated Nitric acid and taken to dryness again.   Next each sample was reconstituted in 10% Nitric acid and transferred to an appropriately labeled and pre-weighed stainless steel planchet and taken to dryness under heating lamps. Each planchet was then flamed using a Bunsen burner to a cherry red color and allowed to cool, placed into a desiccator to finish cooling, then weighed to obtain a final weight. Each sample was then counted on a Protean Gas-Flow Proportional counter for 3 hours to determine the amount of Alpha and Beta radioactivity.

  • Please see the results below for the samples submitted for analysis.

Results:

Samples_1_2_3_Gross_Alpha_Beta_EMSL_MVB_2014

Descriptions & Definitions:

MDA – Is the minimum amount of detectable activity associated for a particular measurement.   <MDA – Refers to the fact that the amount of activity was lower than what the instrument could quantify for a particular measurement.

[…]   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 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.   […]  

In addition, see also my own Disclaimer.

Part 3:  Sr-90 & Pu-139/240 Analysis:

Strontium_Plutonium_sample_tests_EMSL_PaceLabsMVB-kelp_2013_2014

Sr_Pu_analysis_EMSL_PaceLabs_Definitions_MVB2014

Additional details, such as the Quality Control Data, etc., can be made available upon request.  

Funding

The study was 100% privately funded, WITHOUT any financial contributions or involvement from nuclear establishments, Geiger Counter distributors, media organizations, conspiracy websites, anti-conspiracy websites, environmental organizations, or corporations.  The reason I did not even seek donations or took it on as a crowd-sourced project, is because I did not want any external influence, and didn’t want to draw attention, because… which when you feel you’re faced with a monolithic nuclear establishment that’s known to lie, distort, intimidate and derail anything that could possibly threaten its insistence on not having its utter insanity questioned, one “has to be careful”, so I was told a few too many times along the journey of seeking truths.  So I bit the bullet: money given to me to cover yet the latest round of transitioning my life from living out of my car to relative stability, I blew it on lab tests.  If I had known nearly all radioactivity would be proven to be of natural origin, I certainly wouldn’t have bothered to burn 3 months rent on this…   I’ve been living out of my car and staying with friends since September 2013.  I’m not out yet, and my sleeping bag’s fine till -40, so no worries.

The price was astronomical to pay for privately, though, that’s hard to deny, but I decided that it was worth it.  There are cheaper labs, but I wanted one where 1) who I communicate with is a good communicator; 2) a privately funded independent lab that’s not entrenched in the nuclear establishment (The EPA is suspect for that very reason, so is UC Berkeley, and many others); 3) reasonable sensitivity (detection levels) & professional reporting; and I settled on EMSL Analytics Inc.. (A few other labs I’ve looked at in a search awhile back, see here).  That they deliver certified quality analysis, and can be used by anyone willing to pay. I dig too.  The costs broke down as follows:

  • Just gamma: 6 samples
  • Everything: 3 samples
    • 9 x $125  (gamma-spectroscopy analysis)
    • 3 x  $60   (Gross Alpha & Gross Beta analysis)
    • 3 x $175  (Pu-239/240 analysis)
    • 3 x $130  (Sr-90 analysis)
  • Total of 9 samples analyzed; the total lab testing project cost was: $2,220-.

Add postal service: about $30- +  the samples themselves: easily $100-  and the complete total, work hours and travel costs not included, and the total cost was  $2,350.

Insane, in my own opinion, but I have no regrets.  For the same price it could just as well have blown the lid off a cover-up.   Truth is truth.  Facts trump beliefs.  That it turned out very different than I thought is ultimately irrelevant.  I stand corrected and trust that I’ll recover my costs somehow… at some point.  (Sorry my donation button is gone, ’cause my PayPal account is broken, ’cause I didn’t have an address, etc etc…).  But my Geiger Counter is for sale, if you’re interested … in freaking people out with insufficient data that can be twisted any way your boat floats…  It’s a collectors item, though, costs a little more than a new one.)  ;-)

Travel costs are not relevant, ‘because I didn’t travel to Japan to do this (whatsoever); it was a scientific side-project (a very expensive distraction, in fact) that simply grew out of the discovery of very significantly ‘radioactive foods’… which just happen to be packed with nutrients…

This concludes the complete disclosure of my lab results. 

Japan Map w/ Sample’s Most Likely Origins

See the sample descriptions.  Elevated radioactivity was not due to fission products from Fukushima, and no patterns are thus observable in the data.

(Map used from MapQuest.)

(Map used from MapQuest.)

Conclusions & Reflections

Of all the fission material looked for, this is all that was found, but there are many things that can be noted about this:

This table only shows radioisotopes that were found: except for two samples with a minimal trace amount of Co-60 and Cs-137, all radioactivity originated from Potassium-40.  In K40's decay chain, 89% is beta, 11 % is gamma. Additional (up to 30% forSample #3, which that was of insufficient weight (about half the weight of sample #1 & #2), and thus with a massive margin of error.  It can this be concluded that practically ALL measured radioactivity in these foods was due to Potassium-40 content, NOT radioactive contamination from Fukushima or elsewhere.

This table only shows radioisotopes that were found: except for two samples with a minimal trace amount of Co-60 and Cs-137, all radioactivity originated from Potassium-40. In K40’s decay chain, 89% is beta, 11 % is gamma. Additional (up to 30% forSample #3, which that was of insufficient weight (about half the weight of sample #1 & #2), and thus with a massive margin of error. It can this be concluded that practically ALL measured radioactivity in these foods was due to Potassium-40 content, NOT radioactive contamination from Fukushima or elsewhere.

The last-shown table only shows radioisotopes that were found:  Except for two samples with a minimal trace amount 1.4 Bq/kg Co-60 and 1.8 Bq/kg Cs-137, all radioactivity originated from Potassium-40.   In K40’s decay chain, 89% is beta, 11 % is gamma. Additional Beta (The SEEMING 14 % short for Sample #2, and SEEMING 30% potential for other beta sources for Sample #3 is due to insufficient weight, about which was clarified by the lab that these sample’s specific radioactivities could therefor not be taken quantitatively, but only qualitatively.  Sample #1 was sufficient and “89% K-40” matches Gross Beta with no more than 3% difference, almost a perfect match.

Conclusions:

– The food I though was badly contaminated wasn’t.

–  Potassium-40 is the #1 radioactivity source in all these samples, and was almost certainly responsible for the overwhelming majority of the elevated radioactivity measured with my Geiger Counter.

– With as good as no artificial radionuclides in these Hokkaido Kelp seaweeds, one thing that can concluded with certainty is that Geiger Counters, including the popular Medcom Inspector Alert, is essentially USELESS to determine radiation safety of food.  High levels can be entirely due to relatively harmless natural factors, and seemingly low levels  (such as those not containing much Potassium) could still be significantly contaminated with artificial radionuclides.

– All conclusions based solely on Geiger Counter measurements, not backed up by additional lab data, are premature and amount to nothing else than meaningless guess work.

Additional Reflections:

(For more reflections on Potassium-40, scroll down)

  • Cobalt-60…

500 kilometers from Fukushima, 2.5+ years after March 2011 ?   The atmospheric fallout from nuclear weapons testing and even from the Chernobyl accident contained no Co-60.  None.  (See here). It’s not something that’s a normal fission product, unless it’s being made on purpose somehow.  Very curious…

(60Co is a very health-hazardous synthetic radioactive isotope of cobalt, normally only created intentionally by neutron activation of the isotope 59Co.  Cobalt-60 has a half-life of 5.27 years, decaying by beta and gamma decay to the stable isotope nickel-60. (Wikipedia).   The US EPA notes, “All ionizing radiation, including that of cobalt-60, is known to cause cancer.  Therefore, exposures to gamma radiation from cobalt-60 result in an increased risk of cancer.”

Non radioactive cobalt occurs naturally in various minerals, and has been used for thousands of years to impart blue color to ceramic and glass. The radionuclide, cobalt-60, however, is usually produced artificially for commercial use in linear accelerators. It is also produced as a by-product of nuclear reactor operations when structural materials, such as steel containing small amounts of stable Cobalt-59, are exposed to neutron radiation.  It’s used in the medical industry for various purposes.

What’s odd is not the “low level”, but that this isotope is being detected at all, that it is still appearing in detectable amounts over 2.5 years later, this time in a kelp seaweed that originated over 500 km (over 300 miles) from the leaking plants in Fukushima Prefecture no less.  Fukushima-Daiichi must have released a rather significant amount of Cobalt-60 to cause this:

Other detections:

If taking the 1.4 Bq/kg Co-60 as quantifiable (which technically it wasn’t, ’cause I submitted less than 150 g; but at 130 g it was close to that, so perhaps the value is pretty close to what would have been technically quantifiable if I had submitted an extra package of the same…), then it measures more than the approximate 0.83 Bq/kg of Co-60 found in a seaweed that originated only 30 km from Fukushima by Greenpeace in August 2011 (See these  Greenpeace Sample data, Page 5/6); or their discovery of Cobalt-60 in a park in Fukushima City, 60 km from TEPCO’s nightmare site (See Ex-SKF, June 20, 2011).   /

Marco Kaltofen of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA., noted in APHA (Oct 31, 2011) that, “[…] Soils and settled dusts were collected from outdoor surfaces, interior surfaces, and from used children’s shoes. The Japanese filters contained cesium 134 and 137, as well as cobalt 60 at levels as high as 3 nCi total activity per sample. […]”.  3 nCi = 111 Bq.  /

TEPCO reported (TEPCO Press Release, August 21, 2013), “[…] On August 19, [2013] a TEPCO employee on patrol found water leaking from the drain valve of a tank dike in the H4 area of Fukushima Daiichi NPS. […] By measuring the radiation density of the water inside the dike, we confirmed that it came from inside the tank, which contains processed, concentrated water from which Cesium has been removed. […]  Cobalt-60: 1.2 Bq/cm3  […]”   1.2 Bq/cm^3 =  1,200,000 Bq/m^3 Co-60 (!) in this contaminated water on site.  

This January 19, 2014 search shows that Cobalt-60 is only mentioned ONCE in all Tepco documents, but its revealed presence is astronomically high, especially for a radionuclide that's not normally even a part of nuclear accident or nuclear bombing fallout.

High strangeness…  This January 19, 2014 search shows that Cobalt-60 is only mentioned ONCE in all Tepco documents, but its revealed presence is astronomically high, especially for a radionuclide that’s not normally even a part of nuclear fallout…

Goodness…  How much Cobalt-60 were they somehow producing there, and what for?  Was Fukushima also producing (highly profitable) medical Cobalt-60 in the reactor at the time of the explosions?  Was there that much neutron bombardement of steel happening in the rubble to create this much Co-60?  Had it already been made for medical applications and was it being stored on site (like spent fuel rods, piling up largely unprotected, in ridiculous quantities)?  Or – one never knows, right? (Fits the State Secrets Act narrative and Japan’s apparent re-militarization road map…) – could they have been researching, or even unlawfully and secretly building Cobalt Bombs?   (On the latter, Tim Rifat (an expert on Remote Viewing, Influencing, & Psychic warfare, among other things) discussed his take on the military significance of Cobalt-60, pre-Fukushima-disaster, on Jeff Rense Show Sept. 22, 2010.)

Anyhow, I find this detection strange, also given the <MDA of radio-cesiums in the same sample.   I’ll leave it up to others to pitch in on how this may be a significant finding in some way.

Cobalt-60 is usually not part of quick standard food testing (which mainly checks I-131 after an accident, and then just Cs-134/137 levels), but perhaps it should be for Fukushima.  It certainly ought to be included in what’s looked for in the upcoming “Kelp Watch 2014“.

  • Gross Alpha in Sample #1

There’s a still-mysterious 132 Bq/kg of ALPHA radiation emitting ‘something’ in Sample #1.  I would love to know what the specific cause is, but don’t know (yet).

What are some possible alpha emitters?

  • Americium-241 (artificial)
  • Plutonium-236 (artificial, except in trace amounts)
  • Radon-222 (Radon-222 is a member of the radioactive decay chain of (natural) uranium-238)
  • Polonium-210 (Very toxic 210Po has a half-life of 138.4 days; it decays directly to its stable daughter isotope, 206Pb.  210Po occurs in minute amounts in nature, where it is an intermediate isotope in the radium series (also known as the uranium series) decay chain.  It is also produced artificially, used in initiators for atomic bombs, for instance.)
  • Uranium-238 (Natural, most common isotope of natural uranium ore)
  • –> Thorium-232 (Natural, most stable natural Thorium isotope)
  • –> Radium-226 (Natural, the most stable radium isotope being with a half-life of 1601 years,  decays into radon gas.)
  • –> Radium-228 (Natural)

As for the cause of Sample #1’s total Gross Alpha of 132.2 Bq/kg lab suggested the likelihood of the last two:   226Ra is a product of 238U decay, and is the longest-lived isotope of radium with a half-life of 1601 years; next longest is 228Ra, a product of 232Th breakdown, with a half-life of 5.75 years.   Given that if Fukushima’s spreading nuclear contamination had been identified as the culprit (which would have been obvious in significantly elevated Cesium, Cobalt, and perhaps even Strontium or Plutonium levels), I think it’s fair to assume in this case that it is extremely unlikely to be of manmade origins.   This is why I did not invest an extra $300 to get to identify the Alpha emitter(s).

A radiation-elevated beach near Pacifica, California, which caused quite the wave of concern (due to this video), was lab-tested by Medcom, and was found to contain elevated levels of (naturally-occurring) Radium 226 and Thorium 232, possibly as a result of oil/gas industry activities there in the past.  Perhaps my Sample #1 was similarly affected somehow?

My Geiger Counter didn’t pick up any Alpha radiation due to the samples plastic packaging (see note on shielding at the beginning).

  • Potassium-40 & High Gross Beta
    • Sample #1:  +155 CPM  —  4692 Bq/kg Gross Beta
    • Sample #2:   +84 CPM —  2708 Bq/kg  Gross Beta
    • Sample #3:   +32 CPM —  2234 Bq/kg Gross Beta
      • !!!–> Added!: See K-40 levels, below and in tables 

Before I knew the Potassium-40 activity levels, I considered the possibilities:

Beta emitters:

  • Strontium-90 (ruled out for 3 samples, including these 3 (w/ highest added CPM and all Gross-Beta-tested);
  • Cesium-137 (ruled out);
  • Iodine-131 (ruled out), which leaves the possibility of some
  • Carbon-14 (Highly unlikely) and/or
  • Tritium (?) and/or
  • Potassium-40 (natural & near-certainly the main cause of elevated Gross Beta) 

– Samples # 1 % #2 have a similar ratio of added CPM to added Gross Beta:  between 30 to 40 Bq/kg per “added + 1 CPM”, but for Sample #3 it is about double that, so the correlation is too vague.  Sample #3 is half the weight, though, so margin of errors get huge there, hence the lab note it must be considered qualitative, not quantitative.  It would take many more sampling, and confirmed specific K-40 levels to establish how these two could possible correlate.  Meanwhile I have those K-40 levels!!! 

  • Sample #1:  +155 CPM  —  4692 Bq/kg Gross Beta —>   5,094.9 Bq/kg
  • Sample #2:   +84 CPM —  2708 Bq/kg  Gross Beta —>  3,625.26 Bq/kg
  • Sample #3:   +32 CPM —  2234 Bq/kg Gross Beta —->  1,877.01  Bq/kg

– Clearly:  NO CONCLUSIONS about man-made fission product content can be drawn from the added CPM Geiger Counter measurements alone.

I had started to look at this possibilities of this in “Could (natural, normal) radioactive Potassium-40 (K-40) be the main cause of elevated radiation levels in food?   Incrediblethe Medcom Inspector Alert is apparently so sensitive that just high Potassium content is enough for Potassium’s inherent K-40 decay energies to cause the observed additional +0.6 µSv/hr (or more) through the packaging!

I found another Kelp, one from Maine, which measured over 3000 Bq/kg of K-40 as well, see http://www.seaveg.com/shop/UMradiationlab_Oct2012.pdf, from which this is an annotated screenshot:

At least these for these samples, the correlation between ‘added CPM’ and K-40 activity levels is so strong, this Geiger Counter may be more useful for estimating Potassium content than anything else.

Just for fun, I made this little table, shown below,  on which I show how the ‘Added CPM’ and the ‘Bq/kg for Potassium-40 of the nine samples an d show how strongly these can be correlated, so much that an approximate range could be created to guess the K-40 content based on added CPM values, and vise versa. (Note: some data are not quantitative, so this is not an exact science here, just showing that it’s quite likely that with a little more research a correct graph like this, with established margins of errors, etc could easily be made.

This particular graph is meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but I hope you get the idea. © Michaël Van Broekhoven - CLick image for Disclaimer.

This particular graph is meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but I hope you get the idea.
© Michaël Van Broekhoven – CLick image for Disclaimer.

So, it appears quite likely that you use your Geiger Counter for estimating the potassium content of food you may want to buy…    Might have a greater success rate than estimating radioactive fallout content…

In short:  Potassium content of some seaweeds, particularly famously nutritious kelps, such as the top quality ones from Hokkaido, is the undeniable clear cause of the elevated radiation.  The belief that Geiger Counters show or even proof ‘Fukushima fallout in food’ (or rain, where cosmogenic Berylium-7 likely plays an underestimated role too) turns out to be essentially nonsense.  More monitoring, backed up with lab results, remains called-for, for decades to come.  

I hope this was somehow helpful.   Cheers.

DISCLAIMER

[Last edited: January 20, 2014, + Potassium-40 data added !

March 22, 2014: links to a suspicious fear-monger removed]

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16 Responses to Independent LAB TEST RESULTS: RadioIsotope Analysis of Hokkaido Kelp and other Samples – (Store-sampled in Japan Nov-Dec 2013)

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  4. Helen says:

    A few months ago, I bought Costco’s Kirkland Ito En Matcha tea. You article alleviated my concern that perhaps there was still a possibility of the tea being radioactive. Thank you for posting your findings.

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  8. Pingback: A – WOWZA MIX: Why does Cesium-137 increase in Winter? / Cobalt-60 as a Fukushima Tracer, CONFIRMED / Some Finnish DATA / & !!!-> Complete Cs137/Cs134/I131/Co60/K40/Be7 Record for Radiation Monitor @ CERN, Switzerland | Allegedly Apparent Blo

  9. Pingback: A – WOWZA MIX: Why does Cesium-137 increase in Winter? / Cobalt-60 as a Fukushima Tracer, CONFIRMED / Some Finnish DATA / & !!!-> Complete Cs137/Cs134/I131/Co60/K40/Be7 Record for Radiation Monitor @ CERN, Switzerland | Allegedly Apparent Blo

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  12. Pingback: A – WOWZA MIX: Why does Cesium-137 increase in Winter? / Cobalt-60 as a Fukushima Tracer, CONFIRMED / Some Finnish DATA / & !!!-> Complete Cs137/Cs134/I131/Co60/K40/Be7 Record for Radiation Monitor @ CERN, Switzerland | Allegedly Apparent Blo

  13. Pingback: A – WOWZA MIX: Why does Cesium-137 increase in Winter? / Cobalt-60 as a Fukushima Tracer, CONFIRMED / Some Finnish DATA / & !!!-> Complete Cs137/Cs134/I131/Co60/K40/Be7 Record for Radiation Monitor @ CERN, Switzerland | Allegedly Apparent Blo

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