Greens demand more information about possible radiation risks

The Green Party of Canada wants to see Canada take action to increase transparency around possible radioactive contamination in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Ombudsman of the European Union has launched an investigation into the lack of information European citizens have received about potential radioactive contamination of food due to fallout from the meltdown. This highlights the even greater lack of            communication from the Government of Canada about potential risks.

Health Canada monitors the level of radiation in the air and posts the results on its web site. However there is no information            posted to indicate whether the government is checking for radionuclide levels in Canadian food.

“We know that fallout from Fukushima reached our shores, but monitoring of airborne levels gives only a partial picture of the potential risk to Canadians,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party and MP for Saanich Gulf Islands. “Radionuclides become concentrated in foods, particularly dairy. Is Health Canada monitoring this? If so, why is that information not being communicated to Canadians? If not, then why not?”

It is now known that damage to the coolant system from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami resulted in the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Starting March 21, Canadian radiation monitors picked up an increase in radiation levels. Health Canada says the increase in airborne levels has not posed a health risk to Canadians.

Europe has seen small increases in airborne radiation since the disaster, but has also been monitoring contamination levels in foods. The European Union Ombudsman launched an investigation after numerous complaints regarding the lack of information about changes to maximum permissible levels of contamination.  The US government is also monitoring and publishing more data on radioactive fallout than that available to Canadians.  The US EPA and FDA are publishing data from rainfall and dairy.

“Europeans are concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding potential contamination. Canadians are receiving even less information than Europeans or Americans. We should be very concerned,” said May.