Tokyo (CNN) – Traces of radioactive iodine were detected Saturday in China’s Heilongjiang province, a Chinese government agency told state-run media.
The slight rise in radiation, which authorities determined had emanated from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, was a minuscule fraction – one-hundred-thousandth, to be exact – beyond normal background radiation levels, China’s National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee said, according to Xinhua.
Because of the low level, the government agency said there was no harm to public health in China and said there was no need for any extra precautions.
Previously, similar trace levels of radiation from the embattled Japanese nuclear plant had been reported as far away as Sweden and the United States.
In addition, other nations are acting to ensure that their citizens in Japan don’t suffer any ill effects from nuclear fall-out.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, for instance, noted on its website Saturday that it would continue “to make potassium iodide tablets available to private U.S. citizens who have not been able to obtain it from their physician, employer or other sources.” This medication that can counter the harmful effects of radioactive iodine when it gets into the body through the air, water or other means, health officials say.
While Japanese authorities have distributed some such pills to people who lived closed to the embattled power plant, they have not been made available to the general public.
Other nations, including China and the United States, have already restricted certain types of produce, seafood and other items from certain sections of Japan that potentially could be contaminated with radiation.
Japan’s government has banned the shipment of raw milk, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip and various other leafy vegetables that were farmed in the Fukushima prefecture, which is home to the stricken nuclear plant, according to a report released Saturday night by Japan’s nuclear and industrial safety agency.
In addition, the distribution of spinach, kakina, parsley and raw milk from Ibaraki prefecture is now prohibited, as have sales of spinach and kakina from Tochigi and Gunma prefectures.
Authorities, too, continued to monitor if and how radioactive emissions have affected tap water.
The government has set a 100 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram of water threshold, recommending anything higher isn’t safe for children 1-year-old or under. The threshold for adults is 300 becquerels.
One of six water treatment facilities in Chiba prefecture had a 130 becquerel reading, according to results out Saturday by the prefecture’s government.
On Friday – a day after two plants reported high levels – all the prefecture’s water treatment facilities had lower than 100-becquerel levels.
Water levels were deemed safe Saturday at Tokyo’s water processing plants. So, too, are three in Ibaraki prefecture – with tests still being conducted on a fourth in that region.
Another rising concern has to do with alarmingly high reports of radiation in seawater directly offshore of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Chinese government agency, in an announcement Thursday on its website, prohibited the import of “aquatic animals and aquatic products,” among other items, that came from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, and Chiba.
Japanese authorities have yet to follow suit. In fact, Hidehiko Nishiyama said Sunday that levels radioactive iodine-134 that were some 10 million times normal weren’t likely to significantly impact sealife or humans who eat seafood, as the radiation will likely diminish rapidly as time passes and it dilutes in the ocean.
Still, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano acknowledged Sunday that times continue to be tough, regardless, for thousands around the country. Even as soldiers and police take on various missions in the evacuation zone within 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of the stricken nuclear plant, he said the government is looking into allowing some residents back temporarily to retrieve items and take care of other things.
Japan’s government is also plotting a long-term plan to improve people’s quality of life – whether they have been adversely affected by the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami or the nuclear crisis that followed.
“Many people have been affected by the disaster and they’ve living … under difficult conditions,” said Edano. “We need to give these people hope for the future.”