Tap water not safe for infants: Tokyo

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 13:42

Tokyo: Tap water in Tokyo tested two times above the limits for radioactive iodine considered safe for infants, officials said Wednesday amid burgeoning concerns about food safety in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami that crippled a nuclear power plant.

Levels of radioactive iodine in tap water at a water treatment center in downtown Tokyo that supplies much of the city`s tap water contained 210 becquerels per liter of iodine-131, officials from the Tokyo Water Bureau said at a news conference.

That amount is more than twice the recommended limit of 100 becquerels per liter for infants, the most vulnerable segment of the population. Babies in Tokyo should not be fed tap water although the level is not an immediate health risk for adults, officials said.
Nearly two weeks after the twin March 11 disasters, nuclear officials were still struggling to stabilize the damaged and overheated Fukushima, which has been leaking radiation since the disasters knocked out the plant`s cooling systems.

Radiation has seeped into vegetables, raw milk, the water supply and even seawater in the areas surrounding the plant. Broccoli was added early Wednesday to a list of tainted vegetables that already includes spinach, canola and chrysanthemum greens.
Residents of cities in Japan`s northeast earlier had been advised not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of radioactive iodine, which can cause thyroid cancer. Until Wednesday, levels found in Tokyo tap water had been minute, according to officials.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it will halt imports of dairy products and produce from the Fukushima region.

Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, will still be sold to the public but screened first for radiation, the agency said.

Japanese foods make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. imports, and the FDA has said it expects no risk to the U.S. food supply from radiation.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 13:42

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