Spanish waterfowl saved from poisoning by lead ammunition prohibition

This video from 2008 is about a big flock of migrating northern pintail ducks near Fukushima, Japan. What effects will the Fukushima nuclear disaster have had on these pintails and other waterfowl?

From ScienceDaily:

Waterfowl Poisoning Halved by Lead Shot Prohibition in Spain

Jan. 16, 2014 — The pollution of waterfowl meat and their poisoning by lead shot has dropped by 50% since this type of munitions was prohibited in wetlands in 2001. This is one of the data in a report from the Hunting Resources Research Institute, which also states that the hunters’ compliance with this mandate has been very high.

Lead shot was forbidden in 2001 in Spanish wetlands on the Ramsar List of these areas of international importance. Ten years later, this prohibition -and the consequent use of steel shot by hunters- has started to bear fruit, according to a report in the journal ‘Environment International’.

“The most important part of our work is that it shows that, despite it’s still covering a partial area, the change of material from lead to steel shot has reduced waterfowl poisoning and the contamination of hunted meat,” Rafael Mateo Soria of the Hunting Resources Research Institute (IREC) and co-author of the study, said.

Lead shot accumulating in wetlands, with over 100 per square metre in many areas, remains in the sediments for decades.

Its main damage is to the health of waterfowl. When the shot is eaten it is retained in the gizzard and is worn down in the stomach, freeing lead that reaches the animal’s tissues.

“The birds start to develop neurological problems, they cannot move and they also suffer from anemia. Normally, if they ingest lead, they die with notable emaciation after days or even weeks after starting to ingest the shot,” explained Mateo.

In species such as the mallard, 30% caught at the start of the 1990s in the Ebro delta had ingested lead shot, a figure which has now dropped to 15%. The same trend has been seen in other species such as the northern shoveler, the Eurasian teal and the common pochard.

On the other hand, the case of the northern pintail caught continues to cause alarm since over 70% have shot in their gizzards, a rate similar to that seen three decades ago.

The scientist notes that to discover the reason for the high percentage of poisoning in this species, they will start to fit birds with transmitters. “What we do know is that, because of its type of diet, this is a species with a high risk of ingesting shot. Nevertheless, in others that also have these risk factors, such as the common pochard, the rate has reduced after the change to steel shot,” he added.

Another problem caused by lead shot is the contamination of meat. Even after lead shot was banned, the traces in animals caught with this metal exceed the limits set for meat for human consumption.

Lead in the rice fields

Hunters who prefer lead to steel shot claim that the latter is harder and less dense. “With steel, one has to fire a larger shot so that it has the same mass. One cannot fire against the ground because of the risk of ricochets and it is said to damage the shotgun bore. Experience shows that these disadvantages have not affected hunting and that one can continue to hunt perfectly with steel,” said Mateo.

Researchers stress that the hunters’ compliance with this prohibition has been very high and that they have continued to hunt waterfowl in the same amount after the change from lead to steel.

However, the law forbids lead shot in protected wetlands only. For this reason, lead shot is permitted in rice fields that ducks use as feeding areas, thus maintaining focuses of contamination for the birds and their meat.

“These animals use the rice fields as well as the natural lakes for feeding.. There is little logic in stopping the entrance of a pollutant into a protected area if the pollution continues at the same rate a few metres away. The birds don’t understand boundaries. It has not been prohibited mainly because these areas are not protected,” said the scientist.

Legislation in most European countries

This study has allowed the assessment of the effectiveness of the measures adopted by countries signing the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). At the last AEWA meeting, the parties were asked to assess the effectiveness of the lead shot prohibition in wetlands and of the changeover to non-toxic alternative munitions.

The AEWA is an agreement to protect waterfowl along their entire migration route between Africa and Eurasia. It was signed by some 30 European countries.

According to the scientist, most European countries have legislation that limits or prohibits the use of lead shot. “Some, such as Denmark, have gone further and have forbidden the use of this type of shot in all types of hunting since 1996.”

Other countries, such as the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, have followed. Lead bullets have started to be replaced with copper bullets with a hollow point in some areas to reduce deaths from lead poisoning in carrion birds such as the Californian condor (USA) and the white-tailed eagle (Germany).

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Are California’s kelp forests radioactive?

This video about California in the USA is called JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU: OCEAN ADVENTURES | Kelp Forest | PBS.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

Study to test California’s kelp forests for radioactive contamination

By Louis Sahagun

January 16, 2014, 8:38 a.m.

The canopies of kelp undulating in the surges off the coast of California camouflage a complex ecosystem of sharks, rock fish, crabs, urchins and anemones that blossom like colorful flowers on the forest floor.

Now, Steven L. Manley, a biology professor at Cal State Long Beach, and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have launched a campaign to monitor those groves for radioactive contaminants due to arrive later this year in ocean currents from Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“Several features make kelp perfect for a study of this kind,” Manley, a leader of the “Kelp Watch 2014” campaign, said in an interview. “They include kelp’s ability to absorb chemical elements and inorganic ions in seawater and concentrate them in its tissues.”

Of particular interest are two long-lived radioisotopes of cesium released by the power plant after it was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

“Marine chemists following the damaged plant’s plume across the Pacific Ocean expect very low levels of radioactivity to reach California’s shores,” Manley said. “During the trip, some of these isotopes will be taken up by phytoplankton and enter the oceanic ecosystem.”

“Although kelp is a fairly hardy life form,” Manley added, “it would be interesting to know the contaminants’ effects on creatures that feed on kelp such as fish, which are eaten by sea lions, and urchins, which are eaten by sea otters.”

The initiative will rely on volunteers from 20 academic and government institutions to collect samples of Giant Kelp and Bull Kelp from 33 sites in California, including Long Beach, Malibu and Palos Verdes; two sites in Baja California and one in Washington state.

The sampling is to begin in mid-February and end in late winter.

“We’ll be collecting three 15-pound samples of kelp at each site over the course of the year — and that’s a lot of kelp!” Manley said. “Each sample will be dried, pulverized to powder and then sent to Vetter at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Low Background Facility for detailed radionuclide analysis.”

“We have two main objectives,” Vetter said, “to learn more about the distribution and transport of these materials in our world, and to make the results and explanations available to the public.”

Those interested in taking part in the project can contact Manley at and should put “Kelp Watch 2014” in the subject line.

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Fukushima nuclear disaster news update

This video says about itself:

Gone Fission: Fish caught near Fukushima may swim in food chain

25 dec 2013

Japan’s seafood industry says it’s blighted by contaminated catches – nearly three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster polluted surrounding land and waterways. They can’t convince customers their fish is safe – even though the authorities insist they’re doing their level best to show they’ve got a grip on the problem.

Fish with very high levels of cesium found near FukushimaThe Asahi Shimbun: here.

Tepco withheld Fukushima radioactive water measurements for 6 months; Radiation levels near Fukushima plant boundary 8 times the government standard — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

A Japanese engineer who helped build reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant said such plants are inherently unstable, urging Taiwan to ditch atomic energy for renewable resources: here.

Defying Japan, rancher saves Fukushima’s radioactive cowsThe New York Times: here.

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Fukushima disaster continues

This video says about itself:

Fukushima Daiichi: Why Is It So Hard To Clean-Up?

In this, the fourth installment in our short film series, Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen responds to questions we have received about cleanup at Fukushima Daiichi.

And this video, about nuclear radiation and the USA, says about itself:

Atomic Sailors

In this, the fifth installment in our short film series, Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen discusses radiation exposure to our armed forces. Here is a link to the Tampa Bay Times article referenced in the video.

Fukushima ghost towns struggle to recover — The Hindu: here.

‘Duct tape, wire nets’ were used to mend Fukushima water tanks – worker: here.

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Over 70 US navy sailors suing for Fukushima radiation poisoning

This video from the USA says about itself:

US Sailors Sue TEPCO for Radioactive Fallout Cover-Up

20 Dec 2013

US sailors and military personnel are suffering serious health effects as a result of exposure to radioactive fallout during relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Can they sue the nuclear plant’s Japanese operator, TEPCO, in an American jurisdiction for withholding accurate radiation data from US military authorities that might have prevented their exposure?

That’s the case being brought by a growing list of plaintiffs and their attorneys in a San Diego court. The sailors and marines were exposed to radioactive fallout for many days during Navy relief efforts led by the San Diego-based nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan in the 3/11 triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, Japan following a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

In this video, plaintiffs Lindsay Cooper and Mathew Bradley, together with their attorneys Charles Bonner, Paul Garner and Cabral Bonner report their experiences and lay out their case.

The judge has given them until January 6, 2014 to file a revised version of their complaint.

From AlterNet in the USA:

More than 70 US Navy Sailors to Sue For Fukushima Radiation Poisoning

At least 71 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.

December 30, 2013  |  This story first appeared on EcoWatch.

After U.S. Navy sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the  2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan for four days, many returned to the U.S. with thyroid cancer, leukemia, brain tumors and more.

At least 71 sailors—many in their 20s—reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.

The men and women accuse TEPCO of downplaying the danger of nuclear radiation on the site. The water contaminated the ship’s supply, which led to crew members drinking, washing their bodies and brushing their teeth with contaminated water. Paul Garner, an attorney representing 51 sailors, said at least half of the 70-plus sailors have some form of cancer.

“We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention,” Garner told  New York Post.

Senior Chief Michael Sebourn, a radiation-decontamination officer assigned to test the aircraft carrier, said that radiation levels measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe at one point. Meanwhile sailors like Lindsay Cooper have contrasted their initial and subsequent feelings upon seeing and tasting metallic “radioactive snow” caused by freezing Pacific air that mixed with radioactive debris.

“We joked about it: ‘Hey, it’s radioactive snow!” Cooper said. “My thyroid is so out of whack that I can lose 60 to 70 pounds in one month and then gain it back the next. My menstrual cycle lasts for six months at a time, and I cannot get pregnant.

“It’s ruined me.”

Cooper said the Reagan has a multimillion-dollar radiation-detection system, but the crew couldn’t get it activated quickly enough.

“And then we couldn’t go anywhere,” she said. “Japan didn’t want us in port, Korea didn’t want us, Guam turned us away. We floated in the water for two and a half months.”

San Diego Judge Janis L. Sammartino dismissed the initial suit in late November, but Garner and a group of attorneys plan to refile on Jan. 6, according to  Fox 5 San Diego.

Though publications like  The Washington Times have wondered if the Navy and/or National Security Agency might have known about the conditions the sailors were heading into two years ago, Garner and the attorneys say the lawsuit is solely directed at TEPCO.

“We’re suing this foreign corporation because they are doing business in America,” co-counsel Charles Bonner. “Their second largest office outside of Tokyo is in Washington, D.C.

“This foreign corporation caused harm to American rescuers, and they did it in ways that give rise to jurisdiction here in this country.”

Sailors report illness after Fukushima mission — is it radiation-related? — Al Jazeera America: here.

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima: here.

Fukushima: Could a Major Meltdown be on the Way? Here.

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A Fukushima disaster survivor speaks

This video from Japan is called The testimony of a Fukushima evacuee.

Melanie’s blog writes about it:

Testimony of a Fukushima evacuee, Mikosan

December 20, 2013 by Melanie

Mikosan, a courageous mother and evacuee from Iwaki City, Fukushima, shares her struggle to obtain information about radiation exposure and safety precautions to take in order to protect her children.

She has been mislead and lied to by the government, doctors, institutions and media about the true risks of radiation exposure that have caused her and her children typical symptoms of radiation sickness — thyroid cysts, bloody noses, diarrhea, etc.

Rather than providing thyroid tests and blood counts, the government ordered health facilities, schools and officials to evade panic by reminding citizens that decontamination is underway and radiation exposure at certain levels is still safe.

Meanwhile, Mikosan explains that her personal decontamination efforts around her new residence have been both futile and detrimental to her health. Not only are citizens being denied information about the amount and effects of radioactive isotopes that they are unknowingly ingesting and inhaling (especially from the burning of radiative debris from Fukushima), but they are denied sufficient information to protect themselves and prevent further exposure.

Mikosan calls for a grassroots effort to educate the public by the public and provide an informed basis to instigate change by the mere realization that one is needed.. and fast!! This video came out last September, but English subtitles only became available recently. I recommend you watch it.