At least 400,000 cans of baby formula on sale in Japan contain radioactive cesium, but the island nation’s government says that the contamination isn’t dangerous, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The product, made by the Meji Holdings Co. — which manufactures most of the country’s formula — doesn’t pose a health risk, the government claims. The affected cans contain 30.8 becquerels of cesium, far below the 200-becquerel government limit, according to the Journal. Officials have downplayed the dangers, telling reporters: “There is no problem.”
Of course, parents are skeptical — as they should be.
It just kind of makes sense not to expose growing children to radiation .
Pediatricians have warned that the becquerel benchmarks come from Chernobyl-based notions of food safety. An “acceptable” level really just translates to “acceptable after a nuclear accident” — not necessarily safe by normal standards.
“Experts and a growing network of concerned parents have increasingly questioned whether the government’s existing standards are safe enough for babies, considered to be much more sensitive to radiation exposure,” the Journal notes.
Concerned parents — not government or company officials — detected the tainted formula by running tests themselves, then pressed Meji to conduct its own analysis. Pressure from moms, dads, and physicians has increased in Japan, as they grow more and more uneasy with radiation levels present in their children’s food.
One doctor told reporters: “I do not think a product with that amount of [cesium] is good for babies.”
He organized a “network of pediatricians to protect children from radiation” after the Fukushima Daiichi accident March 11, the Journal reports.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 6, 2011