MAMAS ALERT: Japanese Milk and Veggies Blocked

The United States became the first country to ban milk and produce imported from Japan after unacceptably high levels of radiation were found in water surrounding the nuclear power plant at Fukushima.

Japanese officials announced that high levels of radioactive iodine in the water made it unsafe for babies under a year old. While they emphasized that there was no immediate health threat, and the water is safe for older children and adults, mothers are still confused as to what to feed their children. Questions also remain about safety for breastfeeding mothers and those who are pregnant or may become pregnant.

Radioactive iodine, or iodine-131, is rapidly absorbed by the thyroid gland and increases the risk of thyroid cancer, especially in children. While we don’t yet have enough information to know what the short and long-term effects of the increase in radiation will be, it is prudent to be cautious and avoid any foods that may have been effected by contamination.

 

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


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