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REPORTING · 9th April 2011
Merv Ritchie
Direct from Health Canada at the beginning of the crisis in Japan

Information Update: No radiation at harmful levels will reach Canada
The damaged nuclear power reactors in Japan are not expected to pose a health risk to residents of British Columbia or the rest of Canada. Given the thousands of kilometers between Japan and Canada's west coast, any radioactive material that might be pushed eastward via wind patterns is expected to be dispersed over the ocean long before it reaches Canada.

Health Canada will continue its regular radiation surveillance and monitoring activities across Canada. Health Canada has monitoring stations across the country in strategic locations and major population centres.

Note, they were not testing!

Emails regarding testing results performed at Old Massett on Haida Gwaii where Health Canada challenged the interpretation of the results, see interview attached to the story by clicking here.

Hello Lise,
Here are the test results, can you give me contact phone numbers for Linda Pillsworth? I would like to send her these results but I feel I need to talk with her first, to explain that they are coming.
Thanks for your time,

Eileen Hayles
Emergency Planning Coordinator
Old Massett Village Health Services

From:Lise Fish

Hi Eileen - I am looking at your test results for rain water and see a txt. file stating that you begin to enter the danger zone at 6 Bq/L .... that is not a proper interpretation of the Guideline - and is why I am asking you about sample sources etc. A measurement of levels from the product does not equate to an exposure and a risk to health.

Regardless, I think that watching these trends is useful.

I will defer to Linda Pillsworth on this.

Hi Lise and Eileen,

I wil be available in 30 minutes and will call you.
The other consideration regarding the guidelines is that the level is based on a lifetime (70 year) consumption which likely will not occur. the particular parameter breaks down naturally in 8 days. The fact that stream levels are below detection indicates that the breakdown and dilution may be in play.
Speak with you shortly. Linda

John, I am forwarding this email stream to you Ė it is basically a conversation between Lise Fish and Linda Pillsworth, 2 environmental health officers Ė they seem to think we are misinterpreting the lab data...see what you think.

Vicky or Dave
Can you please tell me what the test names are that Old Massett is getting tested for?

Thank you for your time
Goldie Swanson-CHR
Haida Health Centre

The 2010 guideline only has I 131 and Cs 137 (page 15)
You have to go back to the 2008 publication for Cs 134 (MAC=7 Bq/L)
And back to 2006 for Ru 103 (MAC=100 Bq/L)

Hope this helps!

Vicky Snook
Lead Hand, Radiochemistry
SRC Analytical Laboratories


Michael S Craven to Nathan Cullen

Nathan, I have been reaching out from Tokyo for weeks and received no response from any politician. I know more then what is being reported, does Canada care about this crisis in Japan. It is effecting the whole world. You are the NDP Environment Critic, this is a serious issue is it not?

From Shelley Jackson
It's shocking that one of the world's worst environmental disasters is not the lead story... And that people aren't out in the streets protesting... public opinion can do MUCH MORE than oust dictatorial power-hungry leaders... it can sway hearts and minds and tear down mountains. hey, Nathan... We should host a forum on nuclear energy in Kitimat, Terrace, Smithers, etc.

From Alexandra Heidl
It is easy to have the "Not in my Backyard" mentality. But radioactive chemicals leeching out into the water and air is the invisible enemy that eventually that entire world will have to deal with. It is hard to prepare yourself for something you cannot do you know when it is present or has disintegrated? Welcome to my current thoughts....

From Shelley Jackson ‎*agree*

From Nathan Cullen
Definitely still a serious situation - and very worrying. The nuclear industry does not have a reputation for openness and honesty.
Elections have a funny internal momentum to them - small issues can become big and big issues can get little attention. I did an interview on this with the Toronto Star

From Shelley Jackson
Unfortunately true Nathan. can anyone see the elephant in the room?

From Michael S Craven
I mean no disrespect when I say this but isn't it your responsibility to make this an issue? One interview means very little especially since I have been trying to get yourself and other ministers to look seriously into this matter. I have been avoided by everyone in various levels of Canadian Government. I was warning of radioactive water leaking into the Ocean before the news was released. I have been editing documents for ministries in Japan. I know Canada is not prepared and a lot of information I have seen is not being released. I can help you with facts and research. I gave up on Canadaís support weeks ago in regards to the earthquake I know first hand how little Canada has done for Canadians in Japan. The serious issue which is happening is the nuclear reactions and the damage being done which will effect BC. There are more important issues that need to be addressed in this election. Donít you think?

From Michael S Craven
Irradiated water swamps Tepco; restarting cooling systems takes a back seat to storage, disposal

From Jason Wallwork
Any amounts of radiation in our milk would be so minute as to be virtually non-existent. As the article says, the testings in Spokane, Washington found levels of iodine to be 5,000 times lower than that considered dangerous. And the iodine in question has a half-life of 8 days. In 8 days, it'll be half that and half that again in just over two weeks.

From Michael S Craven
Jason, I think you should do research on the current situations of the reactors in Japan.Officials today said it could take several months to get tsunami-damaged nuclear plant under control. This means more radioactive material is leaking into the ocean. It is already being detected as far as Washington. The situation here in Japan is far worse then what Canada is acknowledging. I have three children and I live in Tokyo. I have been assisting the Japanese government with many reports. This is very serious. Maybe when my children glow Canada will reconsider their stance. Radioactive iodine is not the only thing spilling into the ocean and the levels will continue to rise unless they can fix the Fukushima plant.

From Alexandra Heidl
It is correct that Iodine-131 takes 8 days to disintegrate, but the radioactive cesium take roughly 30 years. It has been almost a month of the nuclear plants leeching out all this radioactivity when do we consider it a safe amount? And considering it will take thirty years to fully disintegrate, do we just add it to the list of other pollutants in the air? When will people start taking pride in the world they live in? I thought Canada prides itself as a compassionate country which cars and helps serious disasters that effect the environment?

From Shelley Jackson
The argument used to be that mass media controls what gets talked about during elections. This is changing at an exponential rate. Ten years ago, who would have thought the Internet could spark a revolution? hence, I return to my question to Tim when you were in Kitimat thus weekend; Are we blogging and twittering?

From Michael S Craven
Tepco may release radioactive water 100 times legal limit into Pacific,doesn't Canada care about the impact?

From Michael S Craven

From Jason Wallwork
I'm not saying that there is no risk, but I am saying that the risk to us in Canada is very very low. It's not just what the half-life of a substance but much actual radiation it admits. And the initial article quoted does not really give substantive evidence to your viewpoint, Michael. Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident ever. Even with the radiation spewing for days and then weeks into the environment, only 2,000 people are to have gotten thyroid cancer as a result of mostly drinking contaminated milk and eating contaminated produce within the evacuation zone. Now if you are one of those 2,000 people there is no doubt it is an absolute tragedy. However, letís remember over 100,000 people were evacuated from the zone, a day or two after the explosion and burning graphite rods. I donít believe the Japan situation is anywhere near that deadly, except mostly to sea life. Iíd be far more concerned about the , what is the number now, 12,000 missing and 8,000 dead than what affect milk is going to have on citizens almost 7,500 km away. I still content the risk is minimal. And when I mean minimal, I mean that youíre going to get far more radiation from a dental x-ray than you are from the Japan radiation.

From Jason Wallwork
Alexandra: The half life of Cesium-137, the isotope I believe you're talking about is 30 years in the environment but once absorbed into the body (biological half-life) is about 70 days. Ingestion can also be treated with Prussian Blue which ejects it from the body.
Please donít think Iím saying we should ignore the Japanese situation. Iím not. Iím simply saying itís not as deadly as some seem to think it is. And Canada should do whatever it can to help the Japanese to contain the situation. My concern is that people become over-alarmed here over something that will have little to no-effect on us. However, for the Japanese it is something to be concerned about. Not panicked about, but definitely concerned about.

From Alexandra Heidl
My point is that this is a situation that effects the entire world. I am personally tired of the governments allowing all these chemicals into the environment. There are safety limits set up, but then in a crisis these safety limits are increased and the public is left in the dark. There are so many people who are sick, which is a result of being exposed to these chemicals over time. Every year it seems like the number of people with allergies or health problems increase. When will it stop and when will the government and people take action? There may not be any harm right away, but there is always long term effects. Look at the situation with the Great Lakes of Canada years ago. Not sure if you are familiar with Rachel Carson Book Silent Springs published in 1962. I want to be able to have healthy children and raise them in a world that is not worried about chemicals leeching into our ecosystem. The most vulnerable to these chemicals are the children and it shows, when each generation has many health problems.

From Alexandra Heidl
The Fukushima nuclear plant crisis is currently rated as a 6, just under from the Chernobyl which was rated a 7. At the moment the nuclear plant is still leaking and Tempco has not been able to locate the leak and fix it.

From Jason Wallwork
I don't disagree with you, Alexandra. I think allergies are another issue. They may actually be due to water actually being too clean, shockingly. Allergies are virtually non-existent in the developing world, but prevalent in the Western world. Many allergy specialists believe that our bodies evolved strong immuno-reactions (I might have the exact terminology wrong) to deal with the threat of parasites but because we have so few of them in Western Society, our bodies or basically having strong reactions to parasite triggers that donít hurt us, in a way, an over-reaction. Anyway, sorry to get off topic.
The biggest thing is what you said, that people are too often left in the dark. Japan was a good example of the engineers in charge not alerting the appropriate authorities on a timely basis of what was going on. Even the government was left in the dark with what was happening.
Didnít realize it had moved up to level 6. That is certainly cause for concern for the people of Japan, less for us, luckily.

From Michael S Craven
I am a professor at a national university in Tokyo. I have been editing confidential document for the Japanese government regarding the current crisis and am continually trying to alert Canadian politicians about this issue. It is said internally the global effect of this crisis will be worse than Chernobyl. Presently it is considered dangerous for children to drink tap water to mothers with small children at government offices due to the shortage of bottled water. NHK, the main source of news is controlled by the Japanese government, and the university of Tokyo is a nationally university (government run). The Japanese government is not releasing the true numbers and facts, as they simply do not want to create panic. When the Pacific Ocean which we share with you is being used to dump nuclear contaminated water do you think there will be no repercussions for BC? I think it is an excellent issue for the NDPís campaign. It is an issue which does stand out and can attract voters. Am I wrong to want to give a heads up to Nathan? You say it is luckily it is happening in Japan? Thanks, when my children canít play outside or drink water from the tap I will think of your words. My children are Canadians and are being affected.

From Jason Wallwork
I think you misunderstood me, Michael. I'm sorry not to explain myself clearly. I didn't say it was lucky it was happening in Japan. I said it was lucky that we didn't have to have the same level of worry. And by lucky I don't mean I donít care about what happens in Japan. I think if you read back, I said above, ďPlease donít think Iím saying we should ignore the Japanese situation. Iím not. Iím simply saying itís not as deadly as some seem to think it is. And Canada should do whatever it can to help the Japanese to contain the situation. My concern is that people become over-alarmed here over something that will have little to no-effect on us. However, for the Japanese it is something to be concerned about. Not panicked about, but definitely concerned about. ďIím sorry if I came across as cold; I didnít mean to. I am very concerned about people around the world.
I *do* think it is a real concern for Japan and yes, the Canadians there, but I make no distinction between Canadians living in Japan and Japanese living in Japan. And youíre not wrong to tell Nathan whatever you feel. As Iím not wrong to state that I donít believe the evidence supports concern on the coast of BC. The Pacific Ocean is a pretty big ocean.
Iím sorry if I came across as cold; I didnít mean to. I am very concerned about the plight of all peoples around the globe. I hope the best for you and your family. Keep researching. Keep them honest!

From Shelley Jackson
CBC just said the leak was releasing radiation 7.5 million times higher than normal. Does anyonebh

From Shelley Jackson
Have info on how much cesium was released?

From Shelley Jackson
Micheal, you are not alone... many Canadians, including my grade 11 students, are watching this situation very closely. No matter how big the ocean, we are all connected and this crisis is affecting us. Nathan, if you are wanting to see if you can get "green" votes, wouldn't this be an appropriate topic? Worst than Chernobyl is horrible news. There are lots of alternative news sites online, and and Twitter, of course. Thank you for your willingness to tell us what's really going on. sending prayers your way.

From Michael S Craven
I knew that radioactivity in sea is up 7.5 million times; marine life contamination well beyond Japan feared, I am editing confidential documents and I really am trying hard to share info with Canada. I could have shared this number last week. I can get into trouble if I start directly saying facts or numbers which havenít been reported yet. This is why I called Nathanís Ottawa offices twice for help for my family and advice. I can help the NDP by showing the party is well informed on a global issue which is going to effect our countries Oceans. It will have an effect more then what the media is reporting, I am sure of this. I am not trying to create panic. I want to see this issue addressed. I truly believe Nathan is the person to present this issue and do something.

From Michael S Craven
The iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

The difference between this accident and Chernobyl is that at Chernobyl a huge fire released large amounts of many radioactive materials, including fuel particles, in smoke. At Fukushima Daiichi, only the bolatile elements such as iodine and caesium, are bubbling off the damaged fuel.

From Alexandra Heidl
I think attacking this issue would be a great way to help jump start a campaign towards positive global change for our future and present.
"The atomic genie has been released from the bottle"
Comment by Jay Spark on 10th April 2011
I'm no physicist but it doesn't take an expert to know when you're being bamboozled by a dark industry which is tied to an incredibly destructive enterprise: global warfare.

I agree that much of the blogging on this subject is borderline hysterical; BUT the very powerful (no pun intended) vested interests which include not only the industry spokesmen but the status quo enablers like governments and "health authorities" are all obfuscating.

Unlike nerve gas which has a direct, lethal cause and effect, nuclear particles can be silent, unmeasureable killers. That is, although traces don't excite crude measuring devices like geiger-counters, once ingested into the human body they do ionize tissue and cause it to change in distinct ways. In some cases the cell mutation becomes cancerous, but if the endocrine or reproductive systems are affected, succeeding generations will find out that nuclear particles are a gift that keeps on giving: not only cancers but developmental and immunodeficiency disorders, neurological deficits, etc.

Furthermore, even relatively benign particles with so-called "short' half-lives are far from inert. As they combine with and ionize receptive molecules, they morph into other structures with different radiating characteristics and half-lives than the the original.

Two points about expert credibility: First, many of the consultants and analysts who are providing public information are simply and unarguably "shills" for the industry. Thus, it's difficult to really know who to believe; especially when so few of us have an actual understanding of such an elusive (and SECRET) science. The politicians and self-serving "scientists" protect the industry (jobs and revenues as well as military priorities); the health authorities manage the risks, offering the cover of plausible deniability; the usually poorly-informed media clowns surf the waves of public interest and the dictates of their powerful benefactors.

The second point is analysis and manipulation of statistics and information. The numbers comparing Fukushima with Chernobyl are at best incomplete or outdated. At worst they are bogus and misleading. Literally hundreds of new, extensive, and scientifically verified studies in the post-Chernobyl period have indicated that many hundreds of thousands of people were directly affected - in many countries. The actual list of victims makes the "official" few thousand based on highly restrictive criteria look absurd. Those who cite the outdated official data would be well-served to update their research .

The real conundrum here, is that the atomic genie has been released from the bottle. It will revisit humans many times and in myriad, worrisome ways until it is contained and controlled. It is another but quite unique human-created environmental disaster to add to the growing list which besets planetary life today. In the interest of our unasked-for but nevertheless enormously significant responsibilities as stewards for our beautiful blue planet, it's time people and not corporations started calling the shots.

There's an election campaign going on. Talk to the candidates about why ordinary people are subjected to such fearful and awful technologies, and why we are subjected to all this deceptive information when human lives are at risk.