Brandon Turbeville, The Intel Hub
On March 28, 2011, I wrote an article entitled EPA to Help Mainstream Media Obscure The Truth About Radiation Exposure to Americans, in which I discussed the changes to the PAGs (Protective Action Guides) being proposed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that would raise the acceptable levels of radiation allowed in the environment, food, and even the general public themselves in the event of a nuclear emergency.
PAGs are policies and guidelines established by the EPA that guide the agency?s response in the event of a radioactive emergency. Specifically, PAGs deal with how the EPA should enforce laws such as the Clean Air and Water Act in relation to the disaster. Although PAGs had already been established by the EPA in 1992, the agency now plans to amend these guidelines to much higher levels of acceptable radiation.
No congressional approval is legally needed to makes such changes, because the EPA is a regulatory agency that sets ?policy? and, although these types of agencies can be directed by congress or the president, they often form their own policies. All that is required when agencies such as the EPA wish to change their policy is that they first publish the proposed changes in the Federal Register for a designated period of ?public comment.?
However, since public opinion is worth virtually nothing, once a proposed change is published in the Federal Register, it is well on its way to becoming new policy. This is unfortunate considering the fact that, according to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the new standards would result in a ?nearly 1000-fold increase for exposure to strontium-90, a 3000 to 100,000-fold hike for exposure to iodine-131; and an almost 25,000 rise for exposure to radioactive nickel-63? in drinking water.
Which brings us to the new EU mirror of EPA policy. Actually set as far back as 1989 (by amending standards set in 1987) for the purpose of responding to a nuclear or radiological emergency, the EU ordinance 297/2011 was implemented on March 25, 2011, which finally enacted the standards that were set back in 1989.
EU ordinance 297/2011 raises the Maximum Levels of radiation and radioactive isotopes for food and feed to rather serious levels. In some cases, such as the case of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, the levels are actually twice the amount of previously acceptable levels. Many of these increases are allowed in products such as infant formula and baby foods.
It should be noted that the new EU changes only apply to food imported from Japan. The justification behind this is that in the event of a nuclear emergency the traditional levels of acceptable radiation should be ignored so as not to cause a food shortage as a result of legal constraints.
However, in this context, making such changes is a completely ridiculous decision. Although it is true that the radiation cloud from Fukushima has almost spread across the entire globe, food imported from Japan itself only makes up a small percentage of the EU food supply. As Thilo Bode and Christina Hacker stated, ?These rules now to bring into force is absurd, because in Europe there are no nuclear emergency, and certainly no shortage of food.?[sic] Indeed, it seems the best course of action would be to ban imports of Japanese food or, at the very least, to ban the importation of contaminated Japanese food.
Only time will tell whether or not there is an ulterior motive in regards to the new changes implemented by the EU and those proposed by the EPA. However, it is always good practice to assume that when you see different countries implementing the same policies at the same time, there is much more to the story than meets the eye.
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