Greens demand more information about possible radiation risks

OTTAWA - The Green Party
of Canada wants to see Canada take action to increase
transparency around possible radioactive contamination in
the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

The Ombudsman of
the European Union has launched an investigation into the
lack of information European citizens have received about
potential radioactive contamination of food due to fallout
from the meltdown. This highlights the even greater lack of
communication from the Government of
Canada about potential risks.

Health Canada
monitors the level of radiation in the air and posts the
results on its web site. However there is no information
posted to indicate whether the government is checking for
radionuclide levels in Canadian food.

“We know that
fallout from Fukushima reached our shores, but monitoring of
airborne levels gives only a partial picture of the
potential risk to Canadians,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of
the Green Party and MP for Saanich Gulf Islands.
“Radionuclides become concentrated in foods, particularly
dairy. Is Health Canada monitoring this? If so, why is that
information not being communicated to Canadians? If not,
then why not?”

It is now known
that damage to the coolant system from the March 11
earthquake and tsunami resulted in the meltdown of three
reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Starting
March 21, Canadian radiation monitors picked up an increase
in radiation levels. Health Canada says the increase in
airborne levels has not posed a health risk to Canadians.

Europe has seen
small increases in airborne radiation since the disaster,
but has also been monitoring contamination levels in foods.
The European Union Ombudsman launched an investigation after
numerous complaints regarding the lack of information about
changes to maximum permissible levels of contamination.  The
US government is also monitoring and publishing more data on
radioactive fallout than that available to Canadians.  The
US EPA and FDA are publishing data from rainfall and dairy.

“Europeans are
concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding
potential contamination. Canadians are receiving even less
information than Europeans or Americans. We should be very
concerned,” said May.