Aboriginal people not at risk for Iodine-131 in seaweed

Seaweed traditionally eaten by some Aboriginal people shouldn't be a health problem despite recent testing for Iodine 131 and Cesium 137, the BC Centre for Disease Control said.

Aboriginal people who eat seaweed aren’t at risk for radiation poisoning, the B.C. Centre For Disease Control said.

Scientists from SFU confirmed this week that seaweed taken from Barkley Sound has tested positive for the presence of two radioactive isotopes – Iodine 131 and Cesium 137.

Both isotopes are man-made, don’t occur naturally and given recent events could only have come from the damaged nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan via the jet stream.

The levels detected in the seaweed are low and not life threatening, researchers cautioned.

However, they could not say if they present a different health threat to people who eat it.

Black seaweed is a staple in some Aboriginal Peoples’ diets, and some eat herring eggs that are spawned on the seaweed.

Gathering the seaweed starts in a month’s time in northern B.C.

Ingesting the seaweed won’t present any health concerns, according to the BCCDC.

“The amounts they found are less than one millionth the amount that has been shown to cause disease in the thyroid,”  the website noted.

“There are no health concerns for people who drink rainwater or who eat seaweed here in B.C.”

Testing is ongoing.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Barkley Sound seaweed is being monitored for radiation levels. Read the story here.