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Warnings for mushrooms contaminated with cesium

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 13, 1998) French consumer authorities have removed several metric tons of girolle mushrooms from supermarkets in southern France and from Paris' central market. Routine monitoring revealed the average contamination was 5,000 Becquerel per kg, well above the European Union limit for import of 600 Bq.

(502.4949) WISE Amsterdam - Wild mushrooms, contaminated with cesium-137 and imported from Austria, were confiscated by French customs. The great majority of girolles contained over 2,000 Becquerel of cesium-137 per kg (Bq/kg), radiological protection agency OPRI said October 9. Some of the boxes measured over 8,000 Bq/kg. OPRI said a person eating 1 kg of girolles contaminated with 5,000 Bq/kg of Cs-137 would get a dose of 65 microSievert or 6.5 millirem, according to calculations based on the latest Euratom directive. Annual public limit is now 5 milliSievert and will soon be lowered to one milliSievert (1 milliSievert = 100 millirem). The confiscated mushrooms are to be incinerated at the Fontenay-aux- Roses research center by the radwaste agency Andra.

Health authorities of the Alpes-Maritimes department collected and measured different varieties of muchrooms in the Mercantour national park north of Nice where OPRI has done a radioecology study this summer. The Mercantour region received most fallout from the Chernobyl explosion in France. Samples of the 10 most frequently picked types of mushrooms and analyzed by OPRI registered activities of 50-170 Bq/kg in Cs-137. OPRI said no restrictions on gathering or consumption were necessary.
But what about other radio-isotopes in these mushrooms? What about people receiving additional radiation doses from other sources (railway workers, people living in houses with high radon levels or living close to nuclear facilities)?

In early October, the European Union warned countries to carefully monitor mushrooms from Eastern European countries. Especially white mushrooms from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania which are still contaminated due to the 1986 Chernobyl accident.


  • Nucleonics Week15 October 1998
  • De Morgen (Belgium) 10 October 1998

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