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Some West Coast Albacore Tuna Radioactive Following Fukushima

Apr 29, 2014 05:08 PM EDT

A new study by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers reports that albacore tuna caught off the Pacific Northwest coast have trace amounts of radiation linked to the 2011 explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan.

The radiation, however, is a thousand times lower than the maximum safe level set by the US Department of Agriculture, USA Today reported.

"You can't say there is absolutely zero risk because any radiation is assumed to carry at least some small risk," lead author Delvan Neville, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at OSU, said in a news release. "But these trace levels are too small to be a realistic concern.

In fact, eating more than 700,000 pounds of fish with the highest radioactive level still wouldn't put you in the danger zone. That much tuna is equivalent to the amount of radiation the average person is annually exposed to in everyday life via cosmic rays, the air, the ground, X-rays and other sources, the authors report in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Researchers caught a total of 26 Pacific albacore off the coast between 2008 and 2012 to give a comparison between pre-Fuskushima and post-Fukushima radiation levels.

They discovered that levels of specific radioactive isotopes did increase after the accident, although by a minute amount. Even at the most extreme level, they only measured 0.1 percent of the radiocesium level set by the United States Food and Drug Administration for concern and intervention, the Latin Post wrote.

"A year of eating albacore with these cesium traces is about the same dose of radiation as you get from spending 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas," Neville said.

Samples of the albacore from their loins, carcass and guts were analyzed, but radioactivity in each area was barely detectable.

The albacore could possibly be exposed to additional radiation levels by swimming through the Fukushima plume, but the authors insist it would still be at a low, non-dangerous level.

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