[ RadSafe ] Sr-90 in Maple Syrup, Ra-226 in mineral waters, Cs-137 in woodash, etc. was: Re: Re. Tritium found near VT Yankee (panic time!)

Stewart Farber SAFarber at optonline.net
Thu Sep 15 11:07:11 CDT 2011

Hi Michael,
Your comment about elevated releases [ aka: "spewing" as most commonly
reported, since it is radioactivity] of H-3 from non-nuclear plant sources
reminded me of an incident. When I generated reports on the radiological
environmental monitoring programs for the New York Power Authority's Indian
Point #3 NPP in 1978, we had a situation where very elevated levels of H-3
showed up in water samples taken in the environment a few miles from the

The NRC investigated and it was determined the source of the contamination
was a manufacturing firm handling very large quantities of H-3 and releasing
airborne H-3 which was of a magnitude sufficient to contaminate nearby
bodies of water with elevated H-3. I can't recall what the private company
which had contaminated with H-3 was making, but it wasn't kWh.

The so-called Tooth Fairy project you mention, and its claims about Sr-90
levels in teeth gathered now from children near nuclear power plants being
elevated is pure propaganda distorting science for a hidden agenda and for
the self-aggrandizement of the principals making the claims.  

Anyone familiar with the science of environmental radioactivity knows that
during the peak days of nuclear fallout from atmospheric bomb testing,
locations like Florida and many areas with low stable-K in soil had VERY
elevated Cs-137 levels in milk and other environmental media related to
uptake of Cs-137 from soil to plant.

When I carried out a small study in 1991 of Cs-137 in wood ash from domestic
burning of wood [mostly hardwoods] I found Cs-137 at about 30,000 pCi/kg of
ash in some samples from the area of Gainesville, Florida, while levels in
California, which tends to have very high K soil which suppresses uptake of
Cs from soil to plant,  were on the order of 300 pCi/kg ash. 

Cs-137 levels were about 3,000 to 15,000 pCi/kg of ash in many parts of New
England. Total fallout areal deposition [ Bq/km^2 ] of Cs-137 and Sr-90
varied by a factor of about 3 or so across the US, yet Cs-137 levels in wood
ash varied by a factor of up to 100 [ Ratio of Cs-137 in Florida ash to
Cs-137 in California ash]. 

Sr-90 levels would have varied by very large margins as well starting with
the roughly 3 fold variation of total bomb testing fallout in the US, and
the essentially fixed ratio [ 1.6/1] of  Cs-137/Sr-90 from fissioning either
U or Pu. So based on soil having high or low stable Calcium levels, levels
of Sr-90 would vary much more widely for any unit deposition.  It is well
known there is an inverse relationship between the levels of  Cs-137 and
Sr-90 in environmental media and the levels of K and Ca in soil

The scientific charlatans and scaremongers we all have witnessed will take
the variations of man-made and natural radioactivity found in the
environment,  and use it to arrive at some claim having no basis in fact,
and hype it to any gullible reporter, citizen, legislator, or regulator.
Ain't it awful.

To read an NRC attempt at debunking the Tooth Fairy Project, see:


Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Bridgeport, CT 06606
email: SAFarber at optonline.net
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Michael E. Kitto
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 8:20 AM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Sr-90 in Maple Syrup, Ra-226 in mineral waters, Cs-137
in woodash, etc. was: Re: Re. Tritium found near VT Yankee (panic time!)

I know this is not news to many readers here, but Sr-90 is still measurable
in milk (at least by my lab), and the Sr-90 is not from Fukushima.  Maybe
we should ban milk consumption by children  <grin>;  after all they are
drinking hundreds of gallons during childhood.  And just think of how much
K-40 (1300 pCi/L) that the milk contains !! <grin again>.   One of my goals
before retirement is to show, based on 50 yrs of environmental measurement,
the absurdity of claims, such as with the Tooth Fairy Project.  I'd reveal
how, but I don't want to play my hand openly here.

If I recall, in addition to the wood ash, dried solid waste sludge is
scattered on fields also.  I've analyzed some, it is nasty from all angles.

Lastly, if VT politicians read some of the annual environmental
surveillance reports coming out of states (DOH or DEP) across the US,
they'd realize H-3 is detectable (our MDL is <100 pCi/L) nearly everywhere,
and its not from VT Yankee.  There are huge sources/emitters of
environmental H-3, and they are commercial companies (e.g., self-luminous
exit signs) not NPPs.

 My personal viewpoints.
 Michael Kitto, PhD
 Nuclear Chemistry Laboratory, NYS DOH

>-- Sr-90 in commercial VT maple syrup due to bomb testing,
>-- or Ra-226 in commercial VT bottled waters due to God & the Big Bang
>-- or Cs-137 due to bomb testing [ present in 10,000 or so cubic meters of
>ash from small VT wood burning power plants] at levels up to 9,000 or so
>pCi/kg ash [300+  Bq/kg ash] being spread on home gardens and on large
>commercial organic farming co-op farms in Northeastern Vermont, on the
>table, as it were,  for honest evaluation.
>It's totally amusing [on a certain level] that stores like Whole Foods  or
>other Organic food product retailers are almost consistently strongly
>anti-nuclear power, and against food irradiation but are selling Organic
>produce being fertilized with wood ash with elevated levels of Cs-137 from
>nuclear test fallout. Organic food and organic product sales is now a $27
>billion a year market in the US. How much radioactive wood ash is used as
>fertilizer in organic farming to replenish depleted potassium, and how
>would many consumers like to know woodash spread on the fields where their
>crops are grown contain elevated levels of Cs-137 [and Sr-90]? I doubt
>Organic food consumers would be terribly thrilled with knowing this fact.
>How fast would VT agencies or politicians be to criticize a trivial level
>of H-3 in river water with essentially zero dose implications, or in a
>trivial amount of groundwater flowing into the CT river,  if  applying the
>same standards to commercial products in their State were put under the
>same microscope? It would be fascinating to witness politicians and
>certain State agencies scramble to minimize the significance of the above
>sources of nuclear test and natural radiation exposure from their
>commercial products if the public knew what they were consuming.
>Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
>Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
>Bridgeport, CT 06604
>SAFarber at optonline.net
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