ibusinesslines.com December 10, 2018

Radiation traces from Fukushima nuclear disaster found in Californian wine

26 July 2018, 09:01 | Justin Tyler

Radiation traces from Fukushima nuclear disaster found in Californian wine

Fukushima Nuclear Signature Detected In California Wines

Eighteen bottles of rose and cabernet sauvignon were tested from 2009-2012 for Cesium-137.

A 2011 nuclear disaster triggered by a massive quake and devastating tsunami along the Japan coast left its mark far and wide - including in the wines of California's Napa Valley.

Wines made around major nuclear events, including US and Soviet nuclear tests during the Cold War and the Chernobyl accident, should show higher levels of radioactive isotopes, called cesium-137, according to the researchers. However, there is no need to worry as the radiation levels in the wines are still far below the danger threshold. In the case of the cabernet, the levels of the radioactive materials doubled. This method, which allows researchers to conduct tests on unopened bottles, is a key tool in detecting wine fraud, or the mislabeling of newer wines in order to inflate their prices.

"These levels are so low, way below the natural radioactivity that's everywhere in the world", study co-author and CNRS physicist Michael Pravikoff tells Zaveri.

But don't throw out that expensive vintage wine, even if it fits the description of the wines studied by these scientists. Thanks to his efforts, "dating wine is a a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made". This resulted in reducing the wine to ash.

The researchers reiterate that the levels they found pose no threat to human health-officials with California's health department have also issued statements promising that the isotopes found in California wines (or other agricultural products) pose no threat to human health.

"It is more for the pure scientific aspect that we were interested in measuring them", he told the newspaper.

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