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Tell the FDA to Crack Down on Radiation in our Food

Adapted from Beyond Nuclear, fellow coalition member of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network

Citizens for Health, along with the other coalition members of Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN Homepage, FFAN on facebook), filed a petition with the FDA to drastically reduce the amount of radioactive cesium permitted in food, from a ridiculous 1200 Bq/kg to 5 Bq/kg (see why here, read why here). The Bq (Becquerel) is a measure of radioactivity. The FDA is now accepting comments on our petition and every person’s voice counts, so leave a comment in support here!

Our petition asks for a binding limit of 5 Bq/kg of cesium 134 & 137 combined in food, nutritional supplements, and pharmaceuticals. This is necessary because of continuing exposure to radiation in the wake of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima, where reactors are still releasing radioactivity, along with atomic bomb testing and routine releases from nuclear power plants. We also ask that testing be widespread and, when technologically feasible, measurements below 5 Bq/kg be taken. Through this effort we would like a database of contamination levels to be established and maintained, with information relevant to researchers, so that movement of the cesium radionuclide in our environment can be tracked since it tends to biomagnify once released.

The current US FDA recommendation – which is not a binding law – for cesium 134 & 137 radioactivity in food is twelve times higher than the limit in Japan. Curious and deserving concern, the Japanese standards before Fukushima were significantly more stringent. Before Fukushima, nuclear waste material above 100 Bq/kg was required to be monitored and disposed of in specialized containers. The new (after Fukushima) limit for debris in the “wide area incineration” program is 240 to 480 Bq/kg. Today, Japan limits the cesium 134 & 137 radioactive contamination in food to 100 Bq/kg and the US FDA recommends that cesium 134 & 137 radioactive contamination in food be kept below 1,200 Bq/kg.

In post-Chernobyl Belaurs studies, reutersbandazhevsky-1, it appears that just 11 Bq/kg of internal cesium contamination can make children suscepitble to heart problems. At 50 Bq/kg, children can start to have permanent tissue damage.

Additionally, in a 2011 report, IPPNW 2011 Report, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Germany, has determined that the European Union cesium limit of 370 Bq/kg for babies and 600 for adults is woefully unprotective. Such high limits for cesium could be responsible, in combination with other man-made radioactivity such as strontium-90, plutonium-239, and iodine-131 (cesium-137 is a sentinel indicator for the presence of these other isotopes and often does not exist without them), for roughly 150,000 additional cancer deaths in Germany alone if people consume only products contaminated to the maximum permissible limit. This number does not account for incidence of cancer nor any other wide-ranging diseases or genetic disorders radiation could cause.

The highest limit in Europe is half of the 1200 Bq/kg of cesium that the FDA recommends as its action limit. We should note, however, that the US recommendation comports very closely with the 1250 Bq/kg limit for most foodstuffs proposed by EURATOM (European Atomic Energy Community), the body of the EU that promotes nuclear power.

The IPPNW report recommends a 4 Bq/kg limit of cesium-137 and a 4 Bq/kg limit of cesium-134 for children, limits very similar to the 5 Bq/kg we are asking the FDA to implement for everyone. CFH believes it is impractical for the US to have one standard for adults and one for children – it would be difficult to regulate & add to the cost of implementation, so the standard should suit the most vulnerable. The IPPNW report recognizes this fact.

FFAN coalition members, including CFH, will be spearheading public participation initiatives in support of this FDA petition, adding more supporting material through petition addendums, and help educate the public, the FDA, and Congress on the issues. Stay tuned for upcoming updates and Action Alerts!

Step One:

Sign (add your support through a comment) the Citizen Petition to the FDA here.

Step Two:

Make your voice resonate by signing this petition, Say Bye Bye to Becquerels! as well, which FFAN has created for the general public.

Getting Smarter about the Smart Grid; New Report on ‘Smart’ Meters, EMF, and Government (mis-)Spending

Citizens for Health is calling attention to the new report, “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” because, in addition to the wasted money, unsafe technology, intrusions on privacy, and manipulation of energy bills, so called “smart” meters are alleged to pose serious health hazards to a significant number of people.

Please read the material below and urge your Senators and Member of Congress to look into the “smart” meter question and support holding public hearings on the problems that “smart” meters pose. — Click here to take simple, swift, and effective action.

“Decentralizing power by distributing it is part of an evolutionary trend that began when PCs replaced centralized mainframes making computing power available to all. We have seen this movement, as well, in the breakup of the telephone industry, the burgeoning of locally grown farmers markets, development of the mutli-billion dollar natural health market, and the growing mobile applications (apps) industry–which is transforming the recording, movie and education markets. According to the founder of the first one trillion dollar company, Visa, it developed around the principles of distributing power, diversity, and ingenuity. Apple, likely to be the first company to be capitalized at one trillion dollars, kicked off the distributed economy with personal communication devices. Dr. Schoechle’s new report points the way to how federal energy policy can facilitate the democratization of energy generation–allowing the cumbersome and inefficient energy sector of the economy to join the burgeoning consumer driven markets–by investing in the right smart grid technologies. Such investing will ultimately be a boon for our economy, including not only for consumers but also for the investors, managers, and suppliers of energy production. The movement toward a decentralized economy has the potential to be as significant as the industrial revolution. It is in nobody’s interest for the energy sector to be left out of this transformation.” — James S. Turner, Board Chair of Citizens for Health

Here are the report’s press release short form, full website, and pdf.

Here is the complete report, “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid.”

To dive right into the report and the issues it discusses, listen to this media and community conference call led by these four leaders in Smart Grid improvement and attended by over one hundred people.

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