Expert debunks Fukushima radiation as link to starfish catastrophe

In November, we brought you links to the disturbing story of the starfish wasting syndrome. The cause is unknown. The cause is STILL unknown. However, blame has fallen on Fukushima radiation for a huge array of real and imaginary problems noted in the Pacific. Here’s why this problem is NOT related to the Fukushima disaster.

Three Reasons Why Fukushima Radiation Has Nothing to Do with Starfish Wasting Syndrome* | Deep Sea News.

The author, an echinoderm expert details three observations that preclude a direct relationship between the two:

  • Starfish Wasting Disease/Syndrome pre-Dates Fukushima by 3 to 15 years. One of the earliest accounts was from in 1997. Fukushima was March 2011.
  • Starfish Wasting Syndrome Occurs on the East Coast as well as the Pacific.
  • No other life in these regions seems to have been affected.

The hyped fear over Fukushima radiation has been a top misleading story of 2013. We’ve heard about fish stories, mutant vegetables, giant dogs and general panic. There have been REAL effects observed. But more mass media generated concern is baseless.

Contamination Fears Have Led Many Japanese to Turn to Questionable Products for Detection and Treatment

Stop passing these scary stories about Fukushima fish around social media!.

Addition: Is the sea floor littered with dead animals due to radiation? No. | Deep Sea News.

  6 comments for “Expert debunks Fukushima radiation as link to starfish catastrophe

  1. December 30, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Here are some more observed real effects:

    “Scientists Link Spike in Thyroid Disease to Fukushima Disaster: Nuclear expert and researcher Joseph Mangano explains his research in connecting the increase of hypothyroidism in newborns on the West coast to the Fukushima nuclear disaster”

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11203

    Excerpt:

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. I know there are going to be some skeptics that are going to say, how can you really make that direct correlation just because you’re seeing this effect. How do you know it’s really caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster? Can you just speak to what are the other causes of hypothyroidism? And how did you rule them out in your study?

    MANGANO: There are very few other known causes of hypothyroidism other than exposure to radioactive iodine, and the same thing for the thyroid cancer as well, which iodine also raises the risk of, things like diet, you know, not enough iodine, nonradioactive, in the diet. But that doesn’t occur in the U.S. It’s mostly in Third World countries. Other things, like whether it runs in one’s family and so on. As far as a real reason–oh, and history of hypo–of a thyroid disease, which doesn’t occur in newborns. They’re newborn. Really, this is it.

    So we’re not saying that is no other reason that’s causing this, but we have strong reason to believe that that’s radiation from Fukushima that affected these little fetuses is a major cause, is most likely a major cause of this. And to prove it, we want to follow up and look at other conditions of the infants–other birth defects, infant deaths, low-weight births, premature births, things of that nature.

    • Lagaya1
      December 30, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Well maybe on the west coast of Japan, but the US west coast? I doubt it…

    • One Eyed Jack
      January 2, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      Don’t forget the rise in Godzilla sightings…

  2. F-89
    December 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Great info-but as always there will be those asking “where is the real data” when it can be found with a little research.

  3. Blargh
    December 31, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    @ Perry Bulwer
    Ye gods and little radioactive fishes, Mangano is at it again?
    I’d read the actual paper and attempt to debunk it, but it doesn’t actually seem to exist. So I guess I’ll have to go for generics instead.

    The amount of radioactivity that reached the US from Fukushima was absolutely minuscule. That such levels of e.g. iodine-131 are detectable is a testament to human ingenuity and engineering rather than a sign of danger (you often see scare quotes like “levels of iodine-131 200 times normal”, but that’s because I-131 is a short-lived[1] nuclide that’s not naturally occurring. In other words, the normal level of iodine-131 is approximately bugger-all). As for population doses received from it, they don’t even rise to the level of statistical noise. So any link is a spurious one.

    But let’s continue anyway. We have two possible mechanisms of action:
    * It’s specifically tiny tiny amounts of iodine-131.[2]
    * It’s the ionizing radiation itself.

    If it was the iodine, we’d see:
    * Clusters of hypothyroidism whenever there are detectable-but-below-acceptable-limits releases of I-131 (e.g. the Hungarian one last year and two years ago). We don’t.
    * An absolutely massive incidence in Europe after Chernobyl, since even countries outside the USSR (e.g. Sweden[3]) received enough fallout to have detectable health effects.[4] We don’t.

    If it was the radiation, then… well, babies would just be screwed, since even the tiniest bit of ionizing radiation would then set it off. Living at altitude. Flying somewhere.[5] Having an X-ray, even a dental one. And we’d see hypothyroidism correlations with all those things. We don’t.

    [1] Half-life of about 8 days.
    [2] There are other iodine isotopes of concern in a nuclear power plant accident (e.g. I-133), but they have even shorter half-lives than I-131, and so are even less relevant to the US (it takes days to cross the Pacific).
    [3] Strand, Erlandsson, Löwenhielm – “Thyroid Uptake of Iodine- 131 and Iodine-133 from Chernobyl in the Population of Southern Sweden” (1988)
    [4] Tondel, Hjalmarson, Hardell, Carlsson, Axelson – “Increase of regional total cancer incidence in north Sweden due to the Chernobyl accident?” (2004)
    [5] Altitude exposes you to increased ionizing radiation from cosmic rays (the next time you fly, bring a radiation detector!). See e.g. http://www.hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/commercialflights.html for a list of some measured dose rates and relevant articles.

    [Post attempt #2. I think the previous one got eaten by an XSS prevention mechanism.]

    • Lagaya1
      December 31, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Even in Scientifically-leaning minds there is misinformation, so thanks for that detailed, thorough explanation, Blargh.

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