Seared Radioactive Tuna, Anyone?

Staff Writer
Scholars report contaminated fish poses minimal health risks to consumers
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Last April, the effects of the 2011 earthquake in Japan reportedly reached Californian shores. In a study submitted to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in April of last year, scholars Daniel Madigan, Zofia Baumann, and Nicholas Fisher provided “unequivocal evidence that Pacific Bluefin tuna…transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean.” The radioactivity resulted from Japanese power plants that were damaged in the natural disaster. After the report was released, consumers couldn’t help but wonder (and worry): Is Pacific Bluefin tuna dangerous to eat?

An answer has finally arrived from another PNAS study  and, fortunately, it says that the fish is still safe to cook with and enjoy. In recently released follow-up article, the original authors and additional researchers concluded that the radioactivity in the tuna posed minimal health risks to consumers. According to the study, “Such doses [found in the fish] are comparable to, or less than, the dose of all humans routinely obtain from naturally occurring radionuclides in many food items, medical treatments, air travel, or other background sources.” 

To put it in perspective, if you like tuna, you have nothing to worry about. And if you really like tuna — say, to the point where you eat 273 pounds per year (five times the national average) — you still have nothing to worry about. In this case, the radiation consumed would be the same as one dental x-ray. 

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