More results have come in from on-going studies looking for radiation in different fish from Alaska waters, and they continue to show no evidence of contamination from the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released results from samples of four kinds of important food fish, and none had any trace of Fukushima-related radioisotopes, according to Dr. Ali Hamade of the State Division of Epidemiology.
“None of them have detected any radionuclide that would be associated with any appreciable health risk. Even for those who consume them in huge quantities – we’re talking more than 250 pounds a year – we’re nowhere close to really suspecting any appreciable health risk.”
Previously, negative results were released from tests of sablefish, pollock and halibut in Alaska waters. The results released Thursday were from testing of cod and three species of salmon: kings, chums and reds.
“These analyses target several species of fish, the fish that are for most important for Alaskans. If you look at pollock, that’s important nationwide and globally even, because they go into imitation crab and fish nuggets and whatnot. So it’s not only something Alaskans consume.”
Hamade said the tests FDA scientists use are sensitive enough to be able to tell Fukushima-related radiation, such as iodine-131, cecium-134 or cesium-137, from common background radiation that is naturally present in nature.
“Cesium-134 has a relatively short half-life of about two years, so it’s not something that would linger from many years past and if you see it, means it’s from a fresh source. The source that can really be held accountable for any cesium-134 these days in Pacific water, is most likely from Fukushima.”
He said other tests have shown that no radiation has shown up in sampled marine mammals, which are a delicacy in many parts of Alaska.
“No, these radionuclide like iodine and cesium don’t build up like mercury does. So that’s good. Actually some analysis from the North Slope Borough and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, they looked at several marine mammals, and they did not find any levels of radiation that would be associated with any appreciable health risk to those who consume them as well.”
Samples used in the testing were gathered from the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. Hamade expects results from more species to be announced as testing continues.