The first Report of the Radiobiological Laboratory of the Agricultural Research Council (reviewed in the August issue of the B.F.J.) reveals something of the comprehensive monitoring system for radioactive fission products in the human diet, animal products, pasturage and crops, and the soil. The Report contained the results of a survey of Strontium 90 in the human diet in this country. The survey is continuing into radioactive pollution of food. The service will be available for “accidents” at the gradually increasing number of atomic plants and doubtless it will be extended to cover imported foods, that is at the port of entry, since these may come from countries with higher levels from fall‐outs than in the U.K. Such a service is a public health necessity in any country even though present levels are generally insignificant in relation to the Medical Research Council's recommendations for maximum allowable concentrations. These levels, at which the M.R.C. say action would be required, were doubtless fixed with wide safety margins before definite danger levels would be approached and as maximum allowable concentrations are unlikely to be reached in the peace‐time uses of nuclear energy, including present rates of testing nuclear weapons, except in areas adjacent to possible “accidents” at nuclear plants, perhaps our fears of danger to health from radiation are exaggerated. Possible war‐time levels are another matter; these are unpredictable; unthinkable. There are fairly large areas in different parts of the world, extremely rich in radio‐active materials; where the indigenous population has, as long as it has been settled there, received many times the dose to which the population of the remainder of the earth have so far been exposed. These people in a few areas have been studied; they appear to suffer no ill effects and are as healthy and fertile as those who do not live on radio‐active earth.
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