Seaweed has been a favorite snack in our household for ages. I have always felt good about my kids eating their sea veggies. It seemed like a great way to get minerals into their diet. Consuming seaweed has become very trendy in many parts of the US. But, alas, another food source disappears out of our diet. No more seaweed for this family!
Before I begin, I want to explain that I am a lover of the sea. I have lived on the coast all of my life starting on the coast of Finland, to the coast of Sweden, to the waters off of New Orleans, to the Atlantic Coast, and finally my West Coast home on the Pacific Ocean. I big part of my diet over the years has come from the sea. I was raised on all sorts of fish and shellfish. I do love me some clams dipped in butter and garlic.
Sadly, however, my days of eating from the sea are over. I have been in semi-denial about the pollution in our ocean waters for some time. Giving up my sushi dates with my teenager has been hard. But it’s time to face the music. It’s time to see the truth. Our oceans are deeply contaminated with radioactive poisons from the fall out from Japan. Radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster in Japan is now actively in the ecosystem all along the North American west coast.
I gave up eating seafood when I was pregnant with my now 2 year old. I didn’t want to expose her to anything in the womb. The accident in Fukushima, Japan happened right around that time. After her birth, our family continued to avoid seafood for the most part, except for seaweed. We have always loved it. It’s so good for you, right?
Seaweed offer one of the broadest range of minerals of any food found on earth. It is loaded with B vitamins (folate, pantothetic acid, and riboflavin), magnesium, iron, and calcium. It also contains the cancer-fighting compounds called lignans. And as many of us already know, seaweed is also nature’s richest sources of iodine which plays a critical role in thyroid function.
But, it is my opinion that the devastating contamination that has occurred now far out weighs the health benefits of continuing to consume seaweed.
8 Reasons Why We Don’t Eat Seaweed Anymore
I’m not a dooms day kind of person. I try not to get all worked up over every little thing. But after some deep research into whether I should be feeding seaweed to my kids, this is what I found:
1. Radiation levels are rising! The situation is getting worse, not better, but we are not hearing about that in the news. A study by the Tokyo Electric Power revealed that samples taken on July 8, 2013 showed levels of cancer-causing caesium-134 were more than 90 times higher than they were on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 9,000 becquerels per liter.
2. According to THIS article, the West Coast of the United States is being bombarded with nuclear radiation from Fukushima. It states that “Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. That means that the total amount of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.” Polar bears in Alaska are losing their fur and have open sores. Sea lions are dying on the California coast. The news is NOT good!
3. The governments of the United States and Canada are not publicly conducting tests for radioactivity. Despite the fact that the food is not being tested for radioactive contamination in Japan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to continue purchasing seafood from Japan. Independent testing in Japan showed 65 per cent of the catches tested positive for cesium (a radioactive material), but instead of refusing to purchase the poisoned fish, food safety agencies in both the United States and Canada have simply raised the “acceptable level of radiation.” WHAT!!!
4. Much of the seaweed sold in the United States come from Japan. Studies on seaweed purchased in marketplaces in Los Angles, California show that radioactive levels have increased since the initial accident in Japan in 2011.
5. The contamination is still happening. Oceanographer Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the non-profit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass, along with Nicholas Fisher, a marine sciences professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook did a privately funded study and found that radiation is still being released into the ocean long after the accident in March, 2011.
6. Testing done by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering found Fukushima cesium in US Pacific sea weed. The same study tested nori sheets sold in Japan (where much of our US supply of seaweed comes from) and found Cesium 134 and Cesium 137 (both radioactive metals.)
7. Radioactive iodine from Fukushima found in California kelp: 40,000,000 Bq of iodine-131 found in a single bed of kelp off Southern California. Research shows that the level of radioactive iodine found there is “well above” levels sampled in kelps prior to the Fukushima.
8. A recent study showed that Southern California’s seaweed tested over 500% higher for radioactive iodine-131 than anywhere else in the U.S. and Canada. BUMMER!
So, I know this is a heavily debated topic. There are many folks who would argue that I’m being an alarmist. But for the sake of the health of my family, we no longer consume seaweed. Yes, we are bummed. But after reading the research, I can’t with a good conscience feed it to my children.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
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photo by: Doug Beckers and depositphotos.com/ Dream79 and Nanisimova_sell
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