(NaturalNews) The real and continuing effects from Fukushima still loom large closest to the radiation zone and within Tokyo where it impacts food, trade and water. Much of the population has a skewed view of the safety since the meltdown of several reactors occurred in 2011, in part due to unreliable reports and reluctant confirmations about issues.
Rather than do their own testing, the Japanese media has by-and-large regurgitated the official numbers published by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, who continues to insist that everything is safe.
K. Lee Lerner, a Harvard journalist and author who has been on the ground covering issues related to the fallout and its effect on Japanese life, spoke with several locals in the Fukushima area whose lives have been uprooted since the disaster.
Lerner spoke with Yoshitomo Shigihara, a local official from Nagadoro, a small subdistrict of the evacuated Iitate village some 40 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. Shigihara regularly grants two-hour tours to journalists, scientists etc., who wish to visit the fallout zone – in defiance of the official orders – in order to keep a spotlight on a place that he says has been “‘forgotten.”
Shigihara has taken his own radiation readings from inside the exclusion zone and says the media underreports the numbers – repeatedly and consistently. Instead, Shigihara claims, the media simply echoes the data provided by TEPCO engineers uncritically and without question.
“The media is dependent on TEPCO, unable to verify the technical data,” Lerner reports Shigihara as saying, despite the obvious fact that there are other sets of numbers to consider – many of which are unsettling. Additionally, reports can vary considerably depending upon which ministry of the government is presenting them, Shigihara indicated.
The lack of consistent data about the extent of the fallout only amplifies the problems with transparency, making clear that the world has not been told the truth about Fukushima.
“I just want media to report the truth whether it’s good or bad. The problem is, they are vague about the information they give out,” Shighara told Lerner in an interview from April 2013.
K. Lee Lerner also interviewed a local taxi driver, Hisashi Shoji, who works in the area immediately surrounding the exclusion zone in Fukushima and was forced to relocate after his home – also some 40 km from the nuclear site – was evacuated.
Shoji was critical of the media reportage about the state of contamination, expressing distrust in the media, at both the local and national levels.
“They are all pretty much the same. It’s hard to trust anything in the media,” Shoji told an interpreter with Lerner in a regional Japanese accent. “They don’t report the truth.”
Shoji commented that he stopped believing the reassuring reports they issue some time ago.
He is among those eager to return to their homes, to where their memories and cultural legacy are tied, though many of the displaced – particularly younger people – are moving on to big cities, including Tokyo.
It is unclear when the government will clean up the outlying areas of the exclusion, particularly those in the least restricted zones, like the one Shoji lived in.
Evacuated residents expect this to take years at a minimum, while many recall the delayed official declaration for the evacuation to even begin in the wake of the meltdown – after most had already fled. Wherever they go – all hope for a return to normalcy, and a sense of safety.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Sternsdorff Cisterna, a Harvard doctoral candidate studying social anthropology while living in Japan, has been conducting an ongoing study of how food safety has been affected by the Fukushima disaster. For Cisterna, everything in relation to food, water and environment has been touched, not only in the districts immediately surrounding Fukushima, but in Tokyo where much of the produce grown in Fukushima – as well as fish and other foods – ends up.
The effects are not only the real and persistent occurrence of radiation in the food chain, but also the perception of contaminated food and its accompanying worries as well.
Cisterna describes how some shops in Tokyo have purchased radiation detectors in order to demonstrate to customers that foods and other products are safe. One example is the Catalog House, an upscale home goods store in downtown Tokyo, which brought testing into its establishment in the hopes of restoring confidence through transparency.
According to Cisterna, the store “began selling produce for the first time, trucking it in from Fukushima” shortly after the disaster, and subsequently “installed a radiation detector.” He added, “Assistant manager Toru Sato said in an interview that the detector isn’t just used by customers. Some store employees who grow their own vegetables bring them in for testing.”
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(NaturalNews) The French National Assembly has adopted a bill to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by wireless technologies – cell phones, tablets, Wi-Fi etc. This bill will mean the following:
• A ban on Wi-Fi in all childcare facilities for children under the age of 3.
• Cell phone manufacturers will have to recommend the use of hand-free kits.
• A ban on all advertising targeting children under 14.
Children’s exposure a cause for concern
Children’s EMF exposures are a particular cause for concern. Studies show that children’s brains can absorb up to three times as much radiation compared to adults.
A recent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report suggested that EMF exposures can be more devastating in children because their:
• Brain tissue is more conductive.
• Skull is thinner.
• Smaller brains and softer brain tissue allows radiation to penetrate more effectively.
• Potentially longer period of exposure due to use beginning at an earlier age.
This new French bill seems to have taken these concerns into account.
Principal sources of exposure to EMFs
EMFS are widespread in our daily environment. Anything electrical creates an electromagnetic field. According to the French national Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Safety (ANSES):
• The biggest source of EMF exposure by far are cell phones.
• Cell towers exposures are developing very rapidly with the deployment of 4G, but average exposure is well below that of phones.
• Electrical power lines, transformers and railway lines are also sources of EMFs.
•Wireless devices in our personal environment expose us to radiofrequency EMFs: computers and tablets, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and electronic chips, as well as fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, induction hotplates and washing machines.
French National Agency calls to limit EMF exposures
ANSES now urges “limiting exposure of the population”, particularly to cell phones. It also encourages the use of an earpiece.
ANSES already rang the alarm bell in October 2013. After evaluating more than 300 international studies, the agency published a report highlighting the biological effects of EMFs on humans and animals concerning sleep, male fertility and cognitive performance.
A spokesperson for ANSES stated that “the massive development of technologies relying on radiofrequencies, leading to intensive exposure of the population, specifically more sensitive persons, which cannot be avoided”. They went on to say that the deployment of 4G “will be accompanied by increased exposure of the public”.
Lower exposure limits adopted in Europe
French exposure limits are based on a 2002 decree. They are set at 61 volts per meter (V/m) for 3G and 4G, the same as in the USA. The Council of Europe recommends an exposure limit of 0.6 V/m, some 100 times lower.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein and eight Member States of the European Union (Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia) have adopted more restrictive limits than those of France.
Progress for electrosensitives
In Europe there is a growing recognition of the plight of persons suffering ill health from exposure to electromagnetic fields, a condition known as electrical hypersensitivity or electrical sensitivity. This new bill requires that the French government provides Parliament with a report detailing “the opportunity to create areas of limited electromagnetic radiation, notably in the urban environment”. It also requires that the conditions of electrosensitives by taken into account in the workplace.
Though this bill has to be adopted by the French Senate for it to made into law, clearly this bill reflects the buildup of public opinion in France and other European countries that EMF exposures are dangerous and the public needs protecting. How long before US public opinion is successful in introducing similar protective legislation?
If there was ever a nation that could see the purpose behind organic, sustainable farming, it would be a nation that is composed mostly of farmers. Such a place does exist, and it soon may be the first nation to go 100% organic, paving the way for others to do the same on a global scale. The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is known for a high level of citizen happiness, but it is doing something even more noteworthy in the near future. With Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley making a major announcement regarding the organic farming project at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development which took place last month, the move has made national headlines. It’s called the National Organic Policy, and it is fueled by the simple concept that working ‘in harmony with nature’ will yield the most powerful results — all without sacrificing human health or the environment.
What this comes down to is no GMO, no pesticides, no herbicides, no fluoride-based spray products, no Monsanto intrusion at all, and a whole lot of high quality food available for the 700,000 citizens of Bhutan. Food that, at one time, was simply called ‘food’. In the statement to other policy makers, Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley explained the move:
“By working in harmony with nature, they can help sustain the flow of nature’s bounties.”
Bhutan’s land currently supplys most corn, rice, fruits, and some vegetables, and it is perfectly positioned to begin developing 100% organic farming. In addition to containing a population that is mostly farmers, it also has extremely rich lands that are truly beyond what many consider organic.
Some lands in Bhutan have not even been touched with harsh chemicals of any kind, and traditional techniques are utilized to produce high yields without Monsanto dipping into the pockets of family farmers. This is in sharp contrast to India’s farming community, which has been shafted by Monsanto and subsequently nicknamed the ‘suicide belt‘ due to the rampant suicides that can be blamed in part by Monsanto-induced financial ruin.
Australian adviser to Bhutan, Andre Leu, explains:
“I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult given that the majority of the agricultural land is already organic by default.”
The shift is certainly inspiring, but it also reminds us about the true lunacy of designating foods as ‘organic’ and ‘traditional’ in modern society. These Bhutan farmers are not growing magic beans or enchanted corn, they are growing real food. Actual food as it was grown for thousands of years. It’s only now, with the advent of ways in which we can toxify our crops, do we value organic as if it were some privilege or act of class. When it comes down to it, we just want real food.