Minute amounts of radioactive iodine have been found in milk samples in Washington since the March nuclear accident in Japan. Iodine-131 is a concern because it goes right to the thyroid eventually causing cancer like it did for those who continued drinking milk near Chernobyl after their nuclear disaster. The amounts found in U.S. milk samples were minuscule, and not a cause for alarm at this time. It's really the people near the disaster who are suffering this contamination threat the most.
But, the samples show that Japan's fallout is making its way across seas. Also notable, is the way radiation makes it into the milk. The radioactive iodine comes to ground through rain and is ingested by cows. Rainwater in PA was already tested at 3,300 percent above the federal drinking water standard. Obviously, not a good drink choice for cattle and pets. Fortunately, it is not standard to consume water directly from the rain, but it is something to watch in regards to future water and food sources.
If the other health factors of drinking typical homogenized, pasteurized cow's milk haven't deterred you yet, this might be the time to consider dairy alternatives. We are also witnessing a big push for milk and beef from cloned offspring to be more acceptable. Dairy and meat from cloned offspring is already set to go on the UK market without labeling. For those like myself who don't want to excommunicate milk products altogether, some tasteful, healthy alternatives include “milk” made from almonds, rice, hemp, and coconut.
U.S. finds tiny amount of radiation in milk
(Reuters) – A trace amount of radioactive iodine, well below levels of public health concerns, has been detected in milk from the state of Washington as the U.S. monitors radiation levels amid the nuclear crisis in Japan, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.
“These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency said in a joint statement.
Testing of the milk sample showed 0.8 pico Curies per liter (pCi/L) of iodine-131, a radioactive form of iodine.
Although there are naturally occurring levels of radiation in milk, such an isotope is not normally found in milk, but the agencies stressed it was 5,000 times lower than the FDA's standard, known as the “defined intervention level.”
“These findings are a minuscule amount compared to what people experience every day,” FDA scientist Patricia Hansen said in a statement.
The EPA said it has increased radiation monitoring in U.S. milk, precipitation and drinking water in response to radiation leaks at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged by the huge tsunami that was followed by the massive 9.0 quake on March 11.
The agencies said Iodine-131 has a very short half-life of approximately eight days, and the level detected in milk and milk products was therefore expected to drop relatively quickly.
Contaminated milk is a worry after a nuclear accident because toxic levels of radioactive iodine can get into rainwater and feed that is ingested by cows and taken up in their milk. Contaminated milk was one of the biggest causes of thyroid cancers after the nuclear accident in Chernobyl because people near the plant kept drinking milk from local cows.
Iodine-131 is a threat to human health because it goes immediately to the thyroid gland, where it can cause cancer. Experts say thyroid cancer is generally considered non-fatal because treatments are so effective.