– 2,700 Becquerels/Kg Cesium from Teas Picked by Elementary School Children in Itabashi, Tokyo (EX-SKF, June 30, 2011):
Children from 3 public elementary schools in Itabashi-ku in Tokyo did the tea picking in early May, the tea leaves were roasted and made into the final blend tea and was about to be given to the children. For some reason, the municipal officials decided to test the tea, and found radioactive cesium to the tune of 2,700 becquerels/kilogram, more than 5 times the loose national provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kilogram.
The public elementary schools and junior high schools in Itabashi are run by the Itabashi Board of Education. There are 53 elementary schools in Itabashi.
From Sankei Shinbun (6/30/2011):
Itabashi-ku (special ward) in Tokyo announced on June 30 that 2,700 becquerels/kilogram of radioactive cesium were detected in the final blend tea grown and processed in Itabashi, exceeding the national provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kilogram.
The tea farm is not a commercial operation but for people to experience how it is like to pick tea leaves. The final blend tea was made from the tea leaves picked by elementary school pupils. There is no other farm that produces and ship tea in Itabashi-ku.
In response, the Tokyo Metropolitan government has decided to test radioactive materials in 5 types of vegetables produced in Itabashi-ku and Nerima-ku.
According to Itabashi-ku, 300 pupils from 3 public elementary schools picked the first-pick tea (“ichiban-cha”) on May 9, from which 20 kilograms of the final blend tea was made and ready on June 15. Before giving it to the pupils, Itabashi-ku tested the tea for radioactive materials to ascertain the safety. There was no radioactive iodine detected, and the amount of radioactive cesium in the second-pick tea was below the provisional limit.
Itabashi-ku plans to dispose the entire tea without giving it to the pupils, and says “there is no effect on health by having them pick tea leaves.”
The famous last word in Japan since March 11, “There is no effect on health.” At least, an increasing number of Japanese people now know that it simply means “there is no immediate effect on health.”
According to the Itabashi-ku official website, cesium-134 was detected at 1,300 becquerels/kilogram, and cesium-137 was detected at 1,400 becquerels/kilogram.
I wonder how they are going to dispose the tea, though. I hope they just don’t throw it in the garbage that gets sent to the waste disposal plant in Itabashi, which then burns the tea in the ordinary incinerator and spread cesium in the neighborhood.