Posted by: Raws | March 16, 2011

A Note About Radiation From My Boyfriend in Japan

As some of you know, my boyfriend is living in Yokohama, Japan just south of Tokyo.  He’s well prepared if things go sour over there but even with all the earthquakes he’s already back working this week. He’s been dealing with everyone freaking out at him at every panicky news report, so he decided to do a bit of research of his own. I found the note he posted on Facebook to be rather informative and here’s what he wrote:

Understanding the radiation measurements reported for Japan.

by Casey C. on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 at 08:01

I got sick of reading cherry-picked and flawed news reports.  I noticed that many articles seemed to be confusing milli and micro (a difference of 1000x) and I think I was swapping the two myself, so I sought out the raw radiation measurements

The current radiation levels in Japan are reported online, and the numbers are updated every hour at

http://www.bousai.ne.jp/eng/

and

http://www.bousai.ne.jp/mob/index2.php?lang=en (mobile version)

Anyway, science time!  The measurements provided are given in nano-Gray per hour (nGy/h)

1 nGy/hour0.001 microsieverts/hour1/100 the radiation dose of eating a banana.

The current top radiation level recorded in the area that I live is 81 nGy/h.  The mean is 57 nGy/h and the median is 55 nGy/h – the same as the historical background levels for those monitoring stations.  Furthermore, the data for my area shows that even when the radiation spiked in the capital, the levels here only got up to about 200 nGy/h, or aboutone bite of a banana per hour.

At the time of this writing, the top radiation level 75 miles south of Fukushima Daiichi seems to be about 1,014 nGy/h, roughly the same dose you would get from smoking a pack of cigarettes every hour, or to put it more deliciously, a radiation dose of about 1 banana per hour. Earlier today- right after one of the reactors blew off a bunch of steam- these numbers jumped to 5000 nGy/h but already have fallen to several hundred nGy/h for all but that one monitoring station.  That is to say, the people in that area got a radiation dosage today that was equivalent to a few dental xrays.

Looking at exposure benchmarks, if these numbers got up to about 28,000 nGy/h and remained there for a year (which they would not) people would begin to get sick by the end of that year.

It is worth mentioning that as of right now they are not reporting the numbers for Fukushima, the closest monitoring station with reported data is the one I mentioned 75 miles south of the plant.  Not only that, but for those stations currently not reporting all historical data dating back to the 3/11 earthquake was removed!  This has me seriously concerned that the radiation there is at levels that would affect human health, as it’s so obviously a coverup.  So please, send your concerns to the people close to the nuclear plant, and stop being so worried about Tokyo!

Sources:

Bananas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose

Cigaretttes: http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/cancercenter/prevention/preventionradiation.html

Dental xrays: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra072149

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Responses

  1. Thank you for the information and links. I am getting fustrated with the US news not actually giving out the radiation measurement numbers. Just vague terms like “radiation levels are high”

    • No problem. I totally understand. That’s why I wanted to post it where more people could read it.


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