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Fukushima radioactivity found in Oregon and Washington state tuna

File photo/Wikipedia

File photo/Wikipedia

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    Cheryl Santa Maria
    Digital Reporter

    Friday, May 2, 2014, 2:42 PM -

    Small levels of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have been detected in albacore tuna caught off the shores of Oregon and Washington state, researchers have announced.

    While scientists at Oregon State University say the findings are important, they're quick to point out there's no need to be alarmed.

    You would need to consume more than 700,000 pounds of the fish containing the highest radioactive level to match the level of cosmic radiation the average person is exposed to annually.

    "You can’t say there is absolutely zero risk because any radiation is assumed to carry at least some small risk," said study lead author Delvan Neville, "but these trace levels are too small to be a realistic concern."

    RELATED: Tsunami debris? Barnacle-covered boat washes ashore Washington state

    Researchers analyzed 26 Pacific albacore tuna caught between 2008 and 2012, focusing on pre-Fuskushima and post-Fukushima radiation levels.

    It was discovered that, in most cases, radioactive isotopes increased in the 2012 sample.

    In some instances, radioactivity tripled, creating a measurement that equates to 0.1 percent of the radiocesium level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    While the radioactivity found is "barely detectable" researchers say the discovery provides them with valuable insight.

    "The presence of these radioactive isotopes is actually helping us in an odd way – giving us information that will allow us to estimate how albacore tuna migrate between our West Coast and Japan,” Neville said.

    The complete paper will be published in Environmental Science and Technology.

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