cross posted at the demise

Strips of nori (edible seaweed used in sushi)

A Canadian teen’s science fair project found radiation in store bought seaweed products.

A Canadian teen has shamed the Canadian Government by exhibiting greater concern for her fellow Albertans than the state when, as part of a science fair project, she demonstrated that imported seafood found in local grocery stores has dangerously high levels of radiation.

Bronwyn Delacruz, a sophomore at Composite High School in Grande Prairie Alberta, using a $600 Geiger counter that her father bought for her, found higher levels of radiation than are considered to be safe by the International Atomic Energy Agency in store bought seafood products. Delacruz tested over 300 samples of edible seaweed found local stores that were imported from New Brunswick, British Columbia, California, Washington State, Japan and China for her science fair project.

The young scientist found that some of the samples of kelp that she tested contained radiation that was more than double the rate that is considered to be safe. “I think any dose of radiation can be harmful,” Delacruz told the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, adding that she is concerned that contaminated seafood products are “landing in our grocery stores.”

Delacruz’s findings prompted her to consider if the plume of deadly irradiated seawater that has been spewing unrelentingly from the earthquake ravaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan for over 3 years may be tainting the seafood products that she purchased. Delacruz speculated that, given what is known about the ocean’s currents, radiation from the Fukushima disaster site “wouldn’t arrive (in Canadian waters until) about 2014 or 2013.” Though this is the case, the Canadian government discontinued sampling products imported from Japan in October 2012.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did test products from Japan because of the nuclear disaster from the time of the incident in March 2011 until October 2012, admittedly testing fewer products than Delacruz. The national testers sampled over 250 products during the 18 months that they performed testing. The Canadian authority ceased testing Japanese exports deciding instead to rely upon Japan to test for radiation contamination. The national food inspecting agency told Metro News Calgary that, while it is “monitoring” events in Japan, it currently has no plans to perform additional testing on Japanese exports confidently stating, “Japanese controls on the sale of contaminated product remain intact.”

To test her hypothesis that the recently purchased products may be irradiated from the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear plant, Delacruz tested some pre-Fukushima nori that was in her kitchen cupboard (purchased in 2009) to find that this seaweed had about one third to half the measurable radiation than the products she purchase for her science fair project.

Ms. Delacruz won a gold medal for her scientific study at the regional Canada-Wide Science Fair in Peace River giving her entry into the national championship in Ontario next month. The aspiring scientist was prompted by her findings to begin a political campaign to petition the Canadian government to re-institute obligatory testing of imports and exports for radiation.

“I love seafood, and my whole family loves seafood,” Delacruz told the Daily Herald Tribune, “I would like the government to test before they ‘OK’ imports from other countries, because right now they’re just relying on other countries to do it for us.”

Photo by Alice Wiegand released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.