TOKYO, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Families in Japan living near the site of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant are eating more radioactive cesium but are not in danger, a study says.
The median daily intake of radioactive cesium in meals eaten in Fukushima prefecture is more than 11 times the level in the Kanto region near Tokyo but still well within safety standards, a joint study by Kyoto University's Department of Health and Environmental Sciences and The Asahi Shimbun newspaper found.
The intake level for Fukushima residents would mean an annual internal radiation exposure about 40 times lower than a new, stricter annual maximum the Japanese government is set to introduce in April.
"Even the cesium level in Fukushima prefecture is sufficiently low," said Akio Koizumi, a professor at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Medicine who conducted the study. "It did not turn out to be so high as to give rise to concern about its health effects."
"The total cesium content in meals tends to be thinned out, because food ingredients circulating in the market come from a variety of regions," he said. "The latest figures are not so large that one should immediately review the choice of food ingredients. It is essential to have a well-balanced diet to disperse the risks."
Food always contains minute amounts of radioactive elements from natural sources, researchers said, and the radiation from cesium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant fell short of that background level.