Japan’s “unconscionable” radiation levels for schools

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Japan Times is reporting that Physicians for Social Responsibility, a U.S.-based nonprofit, is challenging Tokyo’s position that it is safe for school kids to use playgrounds in the nuclear-stricken Fukushima Prefecture as long as the dose they are exposed to does not exceed 20 millisieverts (20 millirems) a year.

PSR has condemned those safety standards as “unconscionable”, Japan Times reported.

"Any exposure, including exposure to naturally occurring background radiation, creates an increased risk of cancer,” PSR said in a statement. "Children are much more vulnerable than adults to the effects of radiation, and fetuses are even more vulnerable. "

PSR claimed that a twenty millisieverts standard for children exposes them to a 1 in 200 risk of getting cancer. “And if they are exposed to this dose for two years, the risk is 1 in 100,” PSR's statement said. “There is no way that this level of exposure can be considered 'safe' for children.”

Here in San Francisco, the Bay Citizen has an interesting piece about the difficulties of evaluating the real dangers from Japan’s unfolding crisis.