Contaminated water poses health risk in Japan

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  • Radiation levels in Tokyo’s tap water has reached dangerously high levels adding to food safety woes as rising smoke promoted another evacuation of works trying to stabilize Japan’s nuclear plant

     Tokyo’s tap water has been labeled unfit for babies to drink after radiation from Japan’s earthquake-hit nuclear plant continues to contaminate the capital’s water supply, as well as some foods.

    Radiation has seeped into vegetables, raw milk and even the seawater surrounding the plant in Fukushima Daiichiin the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the country almost two weeks ago.

    The Japanese Cabinet Secretary, Yukio Edano, says: ‘Even if these foods are temporarily eaten, there is no health hazard. But unfortunately, as the situation is expected to last for the long term, we are asking that all shipments stop at an early stage and it is desirable to avoid intake of the foods as much as possible.’

    The Food and Drug Administration in the US have announced a block on all Japanese dairy products and fruit and vegetables from the region.

    Officials from the Tokyo Water Bureau have said that tap water in capital measured 210 becquerels per litre of iodine 131 – more than twice the recommended safe drinking limit for infants, and can cause thyroid cancer.

    However, officials say drinking small amounts of the water poses no immediate health risks to childrenor adultsbut warned: ‘We advise against using tap water for drinking and for making infant formula for babies under 12 months old.’

    The unsettling news is the latest in a stream of setbacks to hit Japan following the quake and tsunami, which struck the east coaston 11th March, destroying the nuclear plant’s crucial cooling systems and causing explosions and fires in four of the plant’s six reactors, leaking radioactive steam in to the air.

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