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Entries in Tap Water (2)

Thursday
Mar242011

Tokyo's Tap Water Restrictions Lifted After Drop in Radiation Levels

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The restrictions that had been placed on drinking tap water in Tokyo were lifted Thursday after readings showed that radiation levels had dropped to an allowable threshold.

On Wednesday, Japanese officials advised that the tap water was not safe for babies after the supply tested two times above the limit for radioactive iodine.  The Tokyo Water Bureau reported at a news conference that the number of Becquerel per unit detected is 210.  The allowable level for infants is 100, while the allowable level for adults is 300.

The panic from the initial announcement was evident when stores were quickly emptied of their bottled water stock as people ignored pleas to only take what they needed.

There are grave concerns that a shortage of uncontaminated water will leave little clean water for those living in the areas most devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that killed an estimated 18,000 people.

To help out, the local government began distributing nearly a quarter of a million bottles of water to homes with infants.  It's believed there are about 80,000 babies in Tokyo, which has a population of 13 million.  The earlier radiation warning specifically noted that the radiation levels in tap water were especially harmful to infants but were not an immediate health risk for adults.

Contaminated water is not the only problem in Japan.  Radioactive toxins have also seeped into raw milk, seawater and 11 kinds of vegetables that are produced in the immediate vicinity of the affected nuclear plant, prompting a ban on their distribution and sale.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

Japanese Officials Say Tokyo Water Radiation Level Unsafe for Infants

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese officials issued a statement Wednesday advising that tap water in Tokyo is not safe for infants after the supply tested two times above the limit for radioactive iodine.

The Tokyo Water Bureau reported at a news conference that the number of Becquerel per unit detected is 210.  The allowable level for infants is 100, while the allowable level for adults is 300.

Officials said that babies in Tokyo should not be fed tap water, but that the level is not an immediate health risk for adults.

Radiation has now seeped into vegetables, raw milk, the water supply and even seawater in the areas surrounding the plant.  Broccoli was added Wednesday to a list of the country's tainted vegetables, which also now includes spinach, canola and chrysanthemum greens.

Meanwhile, news Wednesday morning from Japanese nuclear officials regarding the country's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is not promising.  A spokesman for the nuclear safety agency said that high-level radiation fields of 500 millisieverts per hour were detected at Unit 2's turbine building a few days ago, and that's preventing workers from trying to restore power at the control room.  At those levels a worker would reach Japan's imposed emergency exposure limit of 250 millisieverts within 30 minutes.

Five hundred millisieverts of acute exposure is also the generally accepted threshold at which individuals begin to suffer immediate health effects.

The temperature and pressure readings in the core of Unit 1 are also a major concern.  The vessel is designed to a threshold of 302 degrees Celsius.  Currently, its external temperature is now about 400 degrees Celsius.

It has been reported that the unit is not in danger of melting, but seawater is now being injected at nine times the previous rate.

That, too, has to be done very carefully, as adding water increases the pressure inside the reactor vessel.  If pressure gets too high, it would likely result in the need to release radioactive steam to reduce the pressure and avoid damage to the vessel or, even worse, an explosion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio