March 24, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Press Coverage Adds To Over-Reaction In Radiation Scares

Today I read several press sources that the drinking water in Tokyo had “radiation” in it. I saw it on TV too.

People were buying all the bottled drinking water around.

At this point your imagination takes over … One could picture people growing a second head (or maybe a third if they already had grown a second head due to the “radiation” in the air). People were probably running around in circles saying “Say away from the water!”

Finally, I found an article in the Wall Street Journal with some facts. Here’s what they said.

– The authorities had sampled four sources.

– One showed NO contamination with Iodine-131 (a radioactive form of Iodine).

– One showed slight contamination that was barely detectable.

– One showed slight contamination below the Japanese limits for drinking by babies.

– Once showed slight contamination that was twice the drinking water limits for babies.

– All samples were less than the Japanese standards for drinking water by adults.

– The Japanese standards for drinking water are much less than the international standards.

– The standards are based on long term consumption.

So, should the New York Times headline be “Anxiety Up as Tokyo Issues Warning on Its Tap Water”  (that’s what they said) or should it be “Press Causes Anxiety When Covering Nuclear Problems.”

What do you think?

Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *