SAN FRANCISCO — Authors of a University of Bordeaux study measuring nearly undetectable levels of radioactive material in some California wines due to the Fukushima nuclear power plant incident in 2011 confirm there are no health risks to consumers. According to Michael Pravikoff, one of the study’s authors, the amount of radiation present in all the wines tested is far too miniscule to harm a person’s health. An individual would need to drink more than 40,000 bottles in a year or 110 bottles every day to have any effect, he said in a PBS news story (July 24, 2018).
Based on the university’s published measurements, the California wines contain 100 times less than the World Health Organization guidance level for drinking water.
The World Health Organization also reported that the levels do not present any health or safety concern.
Kai Vetter, University of California Berkeley professor of nuclear engineering, measured radiation in California with a team of students and colleagues five years and beyond after Fukushima and also found nothing of concern as reported in a San Francisco Chronicle story (March 10, 2016). Vetter said people may not realize that they are exposed to radiation constantly and that levels of leftover nuclear radiation, such as that which leaked from the Fukushima plant, may be lower than naturally occurring levels in everyday life.
The amount of radioactivity seen was barely detectable, according to a post by the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, on July 25. “In fact, it is far below the background radiation in natural foods,” said Andrew Waterhouse, professor and chemist for the department. “For reference, the natural radiation from a banana is about 1000 times higher than the cesium-137 that they report in these wines.”
“The California Department of Public Health’s Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) performs weekly air monitoring along the California coast and tabulates and publishes the data on its website,” said Corey Egel, a department spokesperson. “During and after the Fukushima incident, RHB increased its monitoring, with the results leading to the conclusion that no health and safety situation existed.” Wine Spectator (July 26, 2018).
For more articles out of California, click here.