by Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid
Another day brings another science-free but hysteria-packed screed of terror about how radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant incident will bathe all of us in torrents of cesium-soaked death. A few months ago, I took on one of these rambles, Gary Stamper’s not at all melodramatic “At the very least, your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over” and determined that nothing of the sort is even close to true, with the evidence behind it either willfully misinterpreted or simply incorrect.
Now it’s time to get the knives out for a newer piece of Fukushima scaremongering, published just over a week ago on “Activist Post.” While it’s just as wrong and hysterical as Stamper’s piece, it’s also just as popular, with 28,000 shares on Facebook already. It’s sad that far more people are drawn in by crap than in the debunking of said crap, but that doesn’t mean we stop spreading the correct message: that the radiation released by Fukushima, while serious enough to be cleaned up and monitored, is having a negligible effect on everyone but the unfortunate people living in that area.
28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima
And we’re off to the races: specifically, the Gish Gallop, a fallacious debating technique that involves overwhelming your opponent with information, without any regard for its accuracy. Also, I’d like to know what “absolutely fried” means. Is it measurable? Is there a unit that denotes “absolutely fried” as opposed to “mostly fried” or “somewhat fried?” How many AF’s (absolutely frieds) does the radiation from Fukushima contain? And what’s a survivable dose of AF’s? I have many questions about the science underlying this clearly scientific measuring tool.
According to his blurb on Activist Post, Michael Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.
Snyder’s site appears to be some kind of Christian doomsday prepper clearinghouse, and his novel is about (surprise) the economic collapse of America. So if you’re looking for a way to incorporate hoarding precious metals into your fellowshipping, Snyder is your man. None of this is a knock against him, but he does seem to have a vested interest in trying to convince you the world is about to end. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
The map below comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center. It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated. As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States.
The name “Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center” sounds a lot like a government regulatory body. It’s so incredibly the opposite of that. The website is a slapped together map of the supposed radiation levels at nuclear sites around the world. It’s got no indication where it’s getting its information or what it means, but it does have a fee based service that will alert you to radiation spikes anywhere in the world. And Bible quotes.
Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. That means that the total amount of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.
I already covered this in the Stamper piece, and why it seems much worse than it actually is. The short of it is that 300 tons of radioactive water is literally a drop in the bucket compared to the 187 quintillion gallons that make up the Pacific Ocean. Whatever radioactivity is in that water will be diluted to the point of harmlessness.
We are talking about a nuclear disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and it is constantly getting worse.
It’s not unprecedented. Chernobyl remains the worst nuclear disaster in human history, much worse in virtually every measurable way than Fukushima.
The following are 28 signs that the west coast of North America is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima…
Bring it, list. Bring it.
1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores…
Stamper referenced the same article that Snyder does. And if I may be so bold as to quote myself: “The article Stamper links to specifically says ‘Reuters noted that preliminary studies do not support a theory that the disease is due to contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.‘”
Citing an article that specifically refutes the point you’re trying to make is not the way to make that point.
2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…
There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the west coast, happening for as-yet unknown reasons. But it’s sea lion PUPS dying, not sea lions as a whole. Radiation does not distinguish whether an animal is young or old, so it’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, that Fukushima has anything to do with this.
3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low. Many are blaming Fukushima.
Sockeye salmon numbers have been in decline for decades.[/caption]And they would be wrong. Sockeye salmon stocks are low in Canada’s Fraser Basin, with experts in the field researching a number of causes for it. But it’s a decline that began in 1992, long before Fukushima was scaring the crap out of people.
4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.
Just as “many” does not equal “people who understand this stuff,” “something” does not equal “Fukushima.” The link Snyder sites doesn’t even talk about “fish all along the west coast of Canada.” It mentions one school of herring found to be mysteriously bleeding. The cause of this is unknown right now, but even the biologist who discovered the herring isn’t blaming Fukushima – and she discovered them before the plume of radiation would have reached Canada.
5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.
I don’t know where the “size of California” bit comes from, and I can’t find any reputable source to back it up. There is a large field of debris from the post-earthquake tsunami that will hit the west coast, but interestingly, the link Snyder cites has another link to a BBC article that says it won’t happen until March, 2014. And the debris is not likely to have anything more than traces of radioactivity.
6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.
True, and nothing to be concerned about, given how low the current radioactivity level of the west coast is. To quote Dr. Claus Boning from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany: “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima. [...] But we cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima.”
7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.
This is entirely expected and in keeping with a radioactive leak. The amount of radioactivity in the plankton will continue to decay as it moves up the food chain, staying well within Japan’s newly-raised acceptable levels of becquerels per kilogram of foodstuffs.
8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.
Yet another link Snyder cited without actually reading. It references a CNN article that states: “Tissue samples taken from 15 bluefin caught in August, five months after the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, all contained reactor byproducts cesium-134 and cesium-137 at levels that produced radiation about 3% higher than natural background sources.” (Emphasis mine)
A 3% increase in radiation is negligible. It’s around the same amount of additional exposure you get flying in a plane, or sleeping next to someone. If that worries you, then it’s time for separate bedrooms.
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