Radiation Levels Finally Going Down in Northern California Dairy Milk : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Wednesday Jul 4 | BY |
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“Our milk is almost okay now. Really.”

Back in September of 2011, we reported on the fact that radiation from the Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster seemed to be contaminating milk from California. On September 26 and October 1, the UC-Berkeley Nuclear Engineering logs noted that there were detectable levels of radioactive Cesium in store-bought milk samples, as well as in raw cow’s and goat’s milk samples from the Sacramento area.

We also noted that according to the logs, the biggest concern for radioactive fallout in California seems to still be coming from our own government’s nuclear weapons testing back in the 1960s.

The good news is that according to logs dated April 2012, the levels of Cesium are going down. Can we finally breathe easy concerning this latest nuclear meltdown?

What is Cesium Anyway?
Cesium is a rare metallic chemical element used in an assortment of industries, including those that make various optical instruments, glass, and ceramics. A soft, silvery white-gray metal, it occurs naturally in nature as cesium-133. It melts at a low temperature, so like mercury, it’s liquid at moderate temperatures.

There are 11 major radioactive isotopes of cesium. (Isotopes are different forms of an element that have the same number of protons in the nucleus, but a different number of neutrons). Only three have half-lives long enough to be concerned about, and it is these three that are produced by nuclear fission: cesium-134, cesium-135, and cesium 137.

The Department of Energy seems most concerned with the environmental affects of cesium-137 (which has a half-life of 30 years), as when it decays, it releases an energetic gamma ray that can harm a human body just by coming into contact with it. (It doesn’t have to be ingested.)

Cesium-135 is considered less of a hazard because if has a low decay energy, even though it has a very long half-life (up to 2.3 million years). Cesium-134, on the other hand, has a half-life of only 2.1 years.

What Did the Logs Say?
According to the Berkeley logs, levels of radiation in California dairy milk have gone down since last September:

4/9/2012 (5:45pm): Three recent milk test results have been posted on the milk sample page with “best by” dates of 3/12, 4/9, and 4/16. Very low levels of Cs-134 and Cs-137 were detected in the samples — the amounts are so small that it would require drinking over tens of thousands of liters of milk to receive the small dose that one receives from a cross-country airplane flight. These isotopes can still be detected in milk because they have long half-lives (2 years and 30 years, respectively) and therefore trace amounts will remain in the grass and hay that the cows feed on.

This is obviously good news for those who drink dairy milk in California. Still, the tests didn’t say the milk was completely radiation-free, so what is the risk of exposure to these elements?

What’s the Risk of Cesium Exposure?
According to the nuclear experts at the Argonne National Laboratory—one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest national laboratories for scientific and engineering research—cesium can be taken into the body by eating food, drinking water, or breathing air. After it enters the body, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines, and tends to concentrate in muscles because of their relatively large mass.

Like potassium, however, cesium is excreted from the body fairly quickly. The scientists at Argonne state that in an adult, 10 percent is gone in two days, while the rest leaves within 110 days.

The biggest concern is with Cesium-137, as it presents an external as well as an internal health hazard. Those working with it use shielding. In the body, cesium poses a health hazard from both beta and gamma radiation, with the main health concern being an increased risk of cancer.

Still, the risk is low at low levels. Consider this: The standard unit of measurement for radiation is the “picocurie” (Ci). If 100,000 people were continuously exposed to a thick layer of soil with an initial average concentration of one pCi/g (average picocuries or “units of radioactivity” per gram) cesium-137, six of them would be predicted to be diagnosed with a fatal cancer. (About 20,000 from the group would be predicted to die of cancer from all other causes in the U.S.)

Of course, dairy isn’t the only source of potential radiation exposure. Drinking water and air may also be slightly contaminated. You can find real-time monitoring data at the EPA’s RadNet Database here. A grassroots, non-government site called “Radiation Network” also provides updates here.

Kev’s Thoughts

It’s a shame that there was even fallout here to begin with, but this is evidence — regardless of what any news media reports that it was here in Northern California and likely other places throughout the northern hemisphere as well.

Annmarie and I have assessed the situation to the best of our knowledge (I even bought a Geiger counter) and have decided that staying here was appropriate, but, based on the evidence that I’ve been reporting, do not eat local dairy. Even if other food sources are contaminated — the Berkeley research shows that it’s not — we are at least eliminating one food that we know may increase our health risk, as presented by this evidence.

Even if the risk is 6 in 100,000 have fatal cancer directly related to Cesium radiation, that’s not a reason to be careless about the data that has been collected.

On a completely, but similar vein… we also haven’t left because we love it here to much. Every day we appreciate the sun, the air, the food, the farmer’s markets, the woods and the convenience. If you were to run the numbers on life satisfaction vs. chance of cancer from radiation in the amount turning up here — I have a feeling you’d be surprised how deadly not loving where you live and who you’re around really is…

If you regularly consume dairy in your diet, will you be buying from CA dairies again after this report?

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Photo courtesy kristinebelle via Flickr.com.

“Cesium,” Argonne National Laboratory, EVS, Human Health Fact Sheet, August 2005, http://www.evs.anl.gov/pub/doc/cesium.pdf.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Stephanie says:

    One more reason to avoid dairy…

  2. Kathy says:

    If the hay and grass that feeds the cows is contaminated, then it stands to reason that all of the vegetation in the same area is at least somewhat contaminated. So would it be any better to consume plants grown in California? Or maybe some kinds of plants pick up more radiation contamination than other types? Grasses tend to grow faster and use more nitrogen than broad leaf plants. But I have no idea if that means they collect more radiation.

  3. ginaann says:

    I love how we are always supposed to feel better that only a small percentage of people develop deadly cancer. And at the same time, those statistics tell only a tiny portion of the story. Radiation from nuclear fallout is not good. Period.

  4. Sarah says:

    I like the supplement “modified citrus pectin”. It helps to rid the body of heavy metals. I don’t know if that applies to cesium, but cesium is just one of many types of potentially toxic metals we are exposed to. There is a company here in California that carries it. It is from a natural source (citrus), but the “modified” refers to changing the molecule so it is better absorbed by the body. At least that is my understanding. I take it just to ensure that metals that come in go back out again.

  5. Mona says:

    Hi Kev and Annmarie,
    I want to thank you for all that you do to keep us informed so let me give you a web site to explore and see if you find it helpful. This Dr. Sircus in passionate about this subject and has much to say to elaborate on all you have written…you two compliment each other.
    There is much you can do to help yourselves if you stay there and he has some protocols to follow that are very helpful…as well as your own raw diets if you can get healthy produce.
    Thank you again and blessed Fourth of July.
    This was the first article on radiation from Fukushima…he has since written more.
    I pray all stays well with you…
    God Bless, Mona

  6. Julie Stander says:

    Do you know Organic Pastures in Fresno has been testing their raw dairy for radiation? The latest test results from March 5th came back with “not detected” for 15 categories, including Caesium 137. Take a look on their website (home page).

  7. Peggy says:

    Death by homemade icecream on the Fourth of July? Well, I guess it’s not a bad way to go.

  8. Mary says:

    If Fukushima is still releasing radiation, and it is, then how can the fallout be decreasing? And, if the milk does have radiation in it, then why wouldn’t the other plants and everything else be radioactive also? This doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t corrispond to other articles I’ve been reading from Dr. Sircus, IMVA, and Natural News.

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