A government food safety panel recommended Tuesday that safeguards be taken to ensure that cumulative radiation exposure during one’s lifetime not exceed 100 millisieverts, a benchmark beyond which the risk of cancer increases.
The Food Safety Commission’s conclusion paves the way for the health ministry to consider revising its provisional limits for radioactive nuclides in food.
They were set amid the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant crisis based on annual internal exposure levels that don’t take into consideration amounts absorbed through external exposure or lifetime accumulated amounts.
The commission also urged the government and the public to note that children may be more vulnerable to radiation than adults, indicating the possibility of more discussions on lowering allowable levels for children.
The current government limits are set at the same levels for adults and children for most foods, with a few exceptions, including water and milk, whose limits are set lower for infants.
The panel’s decisions Tuesday were reached after analyzing research conducted in Japan and abroad on the health impact of radiation exposure, participants said.
Almost none of the studies were conducted solely on internal exposure from food consumption, prompting the panel to set the yardstick from the viewpoint of lifetime cumulative levels, including external exposure.