[ RadSafe ] Environment: Ingesting radioactive materials from Fukushima impacts butterflies

David & Laura davidandlaura at lambertlake.ca
Sat May 17 16:01:57 CDT 2014

Franz and list,

I have recently joined this list looking for a place where calm, rational
discussions of radiation safety issues are discussed, free from the
hysteria of both the radiation-phobics and those who think that radiation
can do no harm.

The original poster asked if this research soundly based, or flawed in some
way? I think that is a legitimate question. It worries me if someone who
posts a request for comments on an relevant article discussing a possible
danger related to radiation receives instead personal comments like
("obviously paranoid", "further comments on this person will follow"),
instead of comments on the article itself.

Remember that dismissal and ad hominem is a double-edged sword. This paper
was peer-reviewed and published by the Journal of Nature. You can't
disregard the values of peer-review and well-respected scientific
authorities like Nature without also undermining the legitimacy of modern
science, including radiation-related science that we depend on day-to-day
in our hobbies and careers. While I don't dismiss that this paper may have
flaws, Nature will have known that this paper will be controversial, and I
am sure that they have taken pains to minimize the probability of a

I too would like to see comments on the paper. For example:

* How was the control group managed?
* Were they fed _exactly_ the same thing, just with and without the artificial
caesium? Lots of things can vary in leaves from place to place.
 * Was the chemical composition of the control vs. experimental leaves
analyzed to determine that the _only_ difference was the caesium?
* Why wasn't a test run done with the same leaves, with caesium added by
the experimenters? That would seem to reduce the number of other variables,
such as pollution.
* Were the experimental subjects kept in exactly the same environmental
* Was there a corresponding effect seen on butterflies in the wild outside
of their experiment? Specifically, does references 14 and 15 talk about
other species only?

It seems to me from a quick read of the paper that some sort of correlation
between the Fukushima area and butterfly mortality has been determined, but
a radioactive causation has not (yet) been clearly identified. At the same
time, the presence of biomagnification does not allow us to dismiss the
possibility that caesium (and/or other radioactive materials) may be a

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