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Water Contamination in Japan

 
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eck



Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

Hi All,

I am really excited to be teaching in Japan in November. However, I am concerned about the Fukushima disaster that has occured. I have done my research online and found a website from the Australian government called " safe traveller". In that article it states to exert extreme caution if within 80 KMS of the nuclear plant. I have asked my employer to keep me out of this range. However, I am still concerned about showering. If they have discovered low traces of radiation in the water, couldn't this be harmful if you are showering every day in low doses of water with radiation? I can't seem to find any information on this online.

I plan to drink bottled water, and eat food that is imported in as per the advice I have found online.

Any information you could provide regarding this would be appreciated. I know I may sound paranoid, but If you can avoid these risks, then why take them?

Thank you in advance for any information you post!
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 856
Location: Here, There and Everywhere! :D

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

eck wrote:
Hi All,

I am really excited to be teaching in Japan in November. However, I am concerned about the Fukushima disaster that has occured. I have done my research online and found a website from the Australian government called " safe traveller". In that article it states to exert extreme caution if within 80 KMS of the nuclear plant. I have asked my employer to keep me out of this range. However, I am still concerned about showering. If they have discovered low traces of radiation in the water, couldn't this be harmful if you are showering every day in low doses of water with radiation? I can't seem to find any information on this online.

I plan to drink bottled water, and eat food that is imported in as per the advice I have found online.

Any information you could provide regarding this would be appreciated. I know I may sound paranoid, but If you can avoid these risks, then why take them?

Thank you in advance for any information you post!


Your asking English teachers? Confused

I think its best to find a science form to ask if showering in radioactive water is okay. Wink

Otherwise you just get oponions like mine:
Shocked
I think its fine! Very Happy Cool
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eck



Joined: 10 May 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'm hoping to hear what other teachers are doing over there in this situation. What they have heard, if it is a real problem etc etc.

Thank you for your contribution though lol.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 799

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

What other options are you considering? Washing in bottled water? Shocked

I live on the outskirts of Tokyo. I shower, I drink the tap water, I eat fruit and veg, both locally grown and stuff from the supermarkets. As does everyone else I know.

There is no definitive answer on the current levels of risk, so you are not going to find the answer you want. If the uncertainty is going to stress you out, don't come, you will just make yourself miserable.

Personally, I think the pollution is a bigger problem, and I don't do anything to avoid that either.

eck wrote:

I plan to drink bottled water, and eat food that is imported in as per the advice I have found online.

Any information you could provide regarding this would be appreciated. I know I may sound paranoid, but If you can avoid these risks, then why take them?


Can you avoid them?

I'm not sure you could even survive solely on imported food. (Not on my wages anyway!) Even buying bottled water, if it's bottled in Japan, how is that better than tap water? What about soft drinks, beer, etc, they are mostly bottled here, they will use local water. What will you do if you want to eat out or go for a drink? Or buy a snack in a convenience store?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fact that you can't find information about it suggests that it is not a problem. People freak out over words like "radiation", but unless you actually do live very close to Fukushima, you shouldn't have to worry.
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1304
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

eck wrote:

I plan to drink bottled water, and eat food that is imported in as per the advice I have found online.


There are so many errors in what you're asking and assuming that it's not even funny. Exec summary version: the chances of you having any problems from *radiation* in Japan are essentially nil. You're more likely to become ill from drinking bottled water, and you won't have the income to eat imported food. I'm going to stop now before I say something I'll regret.

Evil or Very Mad Rolling Eyes
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index8.html
Sept. 2011 WHO report on drinking water.
Quote:
Can I drink the tap water in Japan?
Drinking tap water in Japan poses no immediate health risk
The Japanese authorities closely monitored the situation and issued advice, when needed, against consumption of tap water, including specific recommendations for infants. Essential hydration of infants should not be compromised in an attempt to reduce exposure to radionuclide contamination.
The standards adopted by the Japanese authorities for this emergency are precautionary. In the case of radioactive iodine the standard for adults is 300 Becquerels per litre in drinking-water. In the very unlikely scenario that drinking-water was contaminated and consumed for an entire year at this level, the additional radiation exposure from this water would be equivalent to natural background radiation during one year.

http://www.nature.com/news/fukushima-s-doses-tallied-1.10686
May 2012 report from 2 independent agencies

http://smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Japan
As I post this, the latest update is July 4, 2012. Please notice that for the majority of Japan, the top of the page shows that "normal safety precautions" are to be exercised. You are highly unlikely to be posted to teach in the other areas which show high risks (of what, the page does not explain, but you can imagine more than just radiation problems).

http://www.japantravelinfo.com/news/news_item.php?newsid=431
Updated July 20, 2012
"The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City. "
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 754
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

eck wrote:
In that article it states to exert extreme caution if within 80 KMS of the nuclear plant. I have asked my employer to keep me out of this range. However, I am still concerned about showering. If they have discovered low traces of radiation in the water, couldn't this be harmful if you are showering every day in low doses of water with radiation?

Are you mixing up your inquiry with data you've read for those within 80 kms from the nuclear plant, and the rest of the country?

I don't know where we get our water from in Osaka, but it's extremely, extremely, extremely unlikely it comes from the 80 kms within the nuclear plant.
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DragonJade



Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

eck wrote:

I plan to drink bottled water, and eat food that is imported in as per the advice I have found online.


Jeez. Why bother going to Japan at all? Think about the air you'd be breathing in. All those nuclear particles floating around everywhere, getting into your lungs and then working their way into your blood.

Seriously, the radiation problem is overhyped and most people are simply uneducated about radiation. If you've got a GCSE in science you should understand even the basics such as, everything emits radiation. You would probably get exposed to more radiation from a lump of granite in your hand from anywhere in the world than you would having a bath in Japan.

And I think that it's Detroit that has a higher level of radiation in its air on a regular day than Fukushima does now. Something like that.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 893
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

I can't understand why you're coming here if you think it's not safe to eat the food or drink the water. If you maintain that attitude you'll have a miserable time. And an expensive one, too: Japan is the land of protectionist food import tariffs.

It may interest you to know that, in terms of food safety or environmental pollution, China is many, many times more dangerous than Japan.
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DragonJade



Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Water Contamination in Japan Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
I can't understand why you're coming here if you think it's not safe to eat the food or drink the water. If you maintain that attitude you'll have a miserable time. And an expensive one, too: Japan is the land of protectionist food import tariffs.

It may interest you to know that, in terms of food safety or environmental pollution, China is many, many times more dangerous than Japan.


Completely agree with what you say.

"Japan levies a 252 percent tariff on imported wheat, 360 percent on butter, 328 percent on sugar and 38.5 percent for beef. "
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/business/global/12yen.html?pagewanted=all

"Japan, the world’s largest corn importer, is self- sufficient in rice as the government protects growers from foreign competition with a 778% tariff on imports."
http://en.mercopress.com/2010/08/05/japan-rice-stockpiles-to-reach-the-highest-in-eight-years-in-2011

"Huge tariffs, some exceeding 1,000 per cent, are placed on many imported agricultural and livestock products, apparently to protect farmers in this country....
The biggest tariff by far - 1,706 per cent - is imposed on konnyaku root, followed by the 1,086 per cent set for peas. "
http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20101202-250439.html
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 893
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really have nothing to worry about. The water contamination problem is under control.

Most supermarket have clean water dispensers. Just look for the big sign that with the "水" symbol. You should be able to buy a shielded water bottle near the dispenser. They're basically lead-lined thermos flasks. They cost about ¥5000 and you can get as many refills as you like.

Of course, you should still check the water with your geiger counter. If contaminated water ever gets inside your bottle you should discard both water and bottle. Make sure you have a spare one bottle somewhere, and don't fill it from the same source.

Any reputable restaurant or cafe will check their drinking water, so you can drink there with perfect confidence.

Washing is more of a problem. For the time being, onsens (public hot spring baths) are the solution. The water comes from aquifers deep underground and, so far, most of them are still producing "clean" water. A lot of onsens have installed air scrubbers, so you can take off your breathing apparatus and, just for 20 minutes (time is rationed) breathe deep, relax, and forget about milliSieverts and iodine pills. For the rest of the week, most people make do with wet wipes.

A few additional notes:

1. You get your onsen ration book with you alien registration card, so make sure you register at city hall ASAP.

2. Just because you're going to the onsen, there's no excuse to drop your vigilance. Bring your geiger counter, and keep your radiological protective gear to hand. Air scrubbers do sometimes fail. Sadly, there have been a few incidents where a natural spring did become contaminated but the government suppressed the news. I can understand why they did so (the contamination was mild -- maybe a problem for the staff, but in just 20 minutes your exposure would be less than a dental X-ray) but still, I think we all have a right to decide for ourselves what level of exposure is acceptable.
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DragonJade



Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:

Of course, you should still check the water with your geiger counter.


Don't pay twice for a phone and a Geiger counter. Get an all in one!

http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/smartphone/product/107sh/
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 893
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DragonJade wrote:
Pitarou wrote:

Of course, you should still check the water with your geiger counter.


Don't pay twice for a phone and a Geiger counter. Get an all in one!

http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/smartphone/product/107sh/
Yup. If you're getting a new phone, makes sure it has the 防水 feature. (防 = protection; 水 = water)

Even if your phone doesn't have a geiger counter, there are still some great smartphone apps. For instance, if you ever have to walk through Tokyo, you should get a Japanese navigation app. They will plot a route for you that avoids the hotspots and takes you through the air-scrubbed public buildings as much as possible.
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