Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Scientific or Medical Basis for Restrictions on Japan Travel & More

Once again, let's deal with just the facts concerning the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. 
The fact of the matter is, folks, that there are too many pundits writing sensationalism about subjects they are not expert in and scaring people. I am not a nuclear power expert but I am an expert in mass media and know a BS story when I see one. And I've seen lots of them in these last 10 years or so: Swine Flu, SARS, Bird Flu, Man Made Global Warming. These mass media cretins pronounce this stuff as gospel truth, interjecting their scare tactic with words like, "might," may have," "could have"... etc. When it is all total conjecture and doesn't deserve to be on the pages of "respectable" media but rather on the pages of tabloid sensationalism. As Tech Crunch aptly put it:




This is all just going to get worse, because, increasingly, all stories are tech stories. Politics? Obama’s staggering online fundraising. Sports? BALCO and high-tech new equipment. Culture? These days, even fine art is all about the Arduino. Technology has insinuated itself into our lives to such an extent that every story now has a technical aspect — but yesterday’s dinosaur journalists will continue to write about them in the same clumsy-to-moronic way that they wrote about Fukushima.

Searching for more factual reporting from a reputable source about the safety of Japan. I found this: In an official public announcement from the International Maritime Organization, in spite of the scaremongering and sensationalism reported in the mainstream mass media (MSM) there is no basis for any medical restrictions to and from Japan regarding radiation or any other problems:


No Restrictions on Travel to Japan


International flight and maritime operations can continue normally into and out of Japan’s major airports and sea ports, excluding those damaged by the tsunami, according to the latest information available from the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization. 

While there is currently no medical basis for imposing restrictions, the United Nations organizations are monitoring the situation closely and will advise of any changes.  

Screening for radiation of international passengers from Japan is not considered necessary at this time. Currently available information indicates that increased levels have been detected at some airports, but these do not represent any health risk. 

The page has a link to the World Health Organization's site. The link is broken. I searched, Japan Nuclear Concerns and found this FAQ page:


What is the current risk of radiation-related health problems in Japan for those residing near the reactor in comparison to those in other parts of Japan?

  • Radiation-related health consequences will depend on exposure, which is dependant on several things, including: the amount and type of radiation released from the reactor; weather conditions, such as wind and rain; a person’s proximity to the plant; and the amount of time spent in irradiated areas.
  • The Government of Japan’s recent actions in response to events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are in line with the existing recommendations for radiation exposure. The Government has evacuated individuals who were living within a 20-kilometre radius around the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Those living between 20 km and 30 km from the plant are being asked to shelter indoors. People living farther away are at lower risk than those who live nearby.
  • As and if the situation changes, the Government of Japan may change their advice to the public; WHO is following the situation closely.
In short, the risk near the reactor exists. The exclusion zone of 20 km ~ 30 km (12 miles ~ 18 miles) are in line with existing recommendations for radiation exposure. Once again, Tokyo is about 150 miles away. Common sense should prevail in helping you to avoid any risk. The article goes on to talk about food contamination:
  

Is there a risk of radioactive exposure from food contamination?

  • Yes, there is a risk of exposure as a result of contamination in food.
  • However, contaminated food would have to be consumed over prolonged periods to represent a risk to human health.
  • The presence of radioactivity in some vegetables and milk has been confirmed and some of the initial food monitoring results show radioactive iodine detected in concentrations above Japanese regulatory limits. Radioactive caesium has also been detected.
  • Local government authorities have advised residents to avoid these food and have implemented measures to prevent their sale and distribution.

The last two bullet points are important here. The final one says that the government has blocked sales of these foods and prevented their distribution. Translation: You can't buy this stuff legally, so if you don't eat it, there's no problem.


People worried about food safety are advised to search the USA Food & Drug Administrations sites about how many parts per million of rat excrement and bug parts are allowed in our food... You also won't ever want to eat out at a restaurant if you are worried about getting sick from your food either... Trust me, I worked at a restaurant when I was 18 years old. 


Reuters reports Deaths From Food Poisoning Under Reported


The Centers for Disease Control (CRC) in the United States estimate that about 5,200 people there die each year from food poisoning but the Danish researchers believe the true figure could be nearly twice as high.


Also, this delectable article on the FDA:  


An eruption at the Peanut Corporation of America led to at least 9 reported deaths, hundreds of diseases and a huge recall of product. Recently, bagged spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos and raw cookie dough have been linked with food borne diseases. For food safety, people have to follow the guidelines which are given by FDA. 


There's millions of articles like this available for anyone who wishes to do a Google search. Salmonella kills over 1,000 people a year alone in the USA. Deaths from eating radiated spinach or milk in Japan? Zero. 


Trust that this irradiated food has been destroyed and will never reach the market. Your chance of eating it and dying from it are about as high as your chances of winning the lottery. Once again, this is a non-story being inflated by an increasingly desperate mass media. 



HENRY ROLLINS - LIAR


You can read more from a technical publication that blasts this mass media sensationalism in: UK Tech Publication Blasts Sensationalist Reporting on Nuclear Reactor:


The situation at the quake- and tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant in Japan was brought under control days ago. It remains the case as this is written that there have been no measurable radiological health consequences among workers at the plant or anybody else, and all indications are that this will remain the case. And yet media outlets around the world continue with desperate, increasingly hysterical and unscrupulous attempts to frame the situation as a crisis.


Crisis? Up north for the poor folks in Miyagi and Fukushima, yes. For us in Tokyo? No. Merely an inconvenience in spite of how much people want to believe the sensationalist shrill... 


Next up, killer flu coming to a neighborhood near you. 

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