Most Of All Tuna Caught Is Covered With RADIATION. Here Are The Specific Kinds You Need To Avoid

2 years

According to some studies, the bluefin tuna that has been caugt off the U.S. West Coast are probably exposed to radioactive isotopes as a result of 2011 Fukushima disaster.

This is another reason to stop eating Pacific bluefin tuna, which are particularly affected. Today, this fish is presented with only 3.6% of its historic levels. The effects of radiation are still unknown for this threatened fish.

In March 2011, Japan was impacted by a great earthquake and tsunami which caused meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As a result to these explosions, huge amounts of radioactive material spread in the air, settling down on the waters of Pacific Ocean. Also, huge amount of radioactive material leaked into the waters from the plant itself.

Big part of the radioactive material that came out from the plant is still spreading as a radioactive cesium. Cesium-134 has a half-life of two years, and all of it in the Pacific originates from the Fukushima plant. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years. This type of cesium originates from the nuclear tests made during the 1950s.

Every Fish Exposed

The fishes are swallowing radioactive cesium because it floats. This is how it enters in the aquatic food chain. Tuna is a predator, which means it eats the fishes that are already exposed.

A study conducted at Stanford University and Stony Brook University in 2012, analyzed the radioactive cesium levels in Pacific bluefin tuna caught near the West Coast of the U.S. Every single fish that has been analyzed contained traces of radioactive elements. “We discovered that every single fish had concentrations of cesium 134 and 137,” explains Nicholas Fisher.

The levels of radioactive cesium are raised by 3% in the year after the Fukushima disaster.

“Because of the tune this radioactive material spread across the world,” lead researcher Daniel Madigan explains. “The fact that we found the radioactive material in each tuna we analyzed is very surprising.”

The study was conducted right after the disaster happened, in times when the radioactivity caused by Fukushima plant was minimal. The tuna that is sold in the markets today, have spent their whole lifetime being exposed to radiation. The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) made some assessments in 2013, founding that 90% of the Pacific bluefin tuna caught have not yet reached maturity. The tuna fish that is older than 5 years is considered as mature. We all know that the Fukushima disaster happened in March 2011, almost five year ago.

The Pacific bluefins are spawning near the coast of Japan, which means that they are extremely exposed to radiation. Then they are spreading all over Pacific Ocean, reaching the coast of North America.

Radioactivity Levels Tripled

But not only the bluefins are exposed to radiation. A study conducted in 2014 at Oregon State University and released in the journal Environmental Science and Technology revealed that Fukushima disaster caused many other negative effects on the sea life, especially on Albacore tuna.

The scientists made a comparison of the radioactive isotopes in tuna caught near the coast of Oregon in the period between 2008 and 2012. They discovered that the levels of radioisotopes tripled after the Fukushima disaster.

The lead researcher Delvan Neville tried to minimize the risk of consuming this fish, explaining: “Consume albacore tuna exposed to cesium for a year and it will be just like you have spent 23 seconds in a stuffy basement from radon gas, or sleeping along your partner for 40 nights from the natural potassium-40 in their organism,” he said. “It’s not much at all.”

But Neville says that there is no safe radiation exposure.

“You can’t consider that there is no risk since any radiation brings some risks,” he explains.