Sun, Oct 14, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Lax standards endanger Taiwanese

By Jay Fang 方儉

Tokyo-based Taiwanese writer Lill Liu (劉黎兒) has shown many times that there is a case to be made that Taiwan has some of the most lax radiation controls on imported food products globally. The majority of countries and areas, including the EU, South Korea and Singapore, have set the tolerance level for radiation at under 100Bq/kg. Taiwan stands alone in the world in how it tests for radiation from Japan. Does the public here believe the government when it announces that there has been no contamination from Fukushima?

Taiwan wants to allow the tolerance level for food products to be extended to 300 or even 370Bq/kg when the international standard states that anything over 100Bq/kg is considered nuclear waste. That is, the government wants it to be lawful for Taiwanese to consume large amounts of agricultural and fishery products cultivated near the nuclear waste storage facility on Lanyu (蘭嶼).

The radioactivity in nuclear weapons and in nuclear power plants decays very slowly, with a half-life measured in tens of millions of years. It takes a very long time indeed for these compounds to lose their toxicity and the ability to harm living things. The radioactive material from Fukushima will need around 10,000 years before it becomes harmless.

The Taiwanese government has welcomed contaminated Japanese food products with open arms and abandoned its duty of care to its citizens.

Jay Fang is the chairman of the Green Consumers’ Foundation.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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