East Bay Edition

Fukushima Fallout

An Interview with Food Safety Advocate, Kimberly Roberson

Kimberly Roberson

Kimberly Roberson

Following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi triple-nuclear meltdown disaster on March 11, 2011, Kimberly Roberson wrote the first petition calling for radiation monitoring of food. Her efforts lead to the formation of the Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN), and her first book, Silence Deafening, Fukushima Fallout...A Mother’s Response.

Why did you write a book about nuclear radiation and Fukushima?

I never planned to write a book, but there was such a void in the media that it grew organically. The Helen Caldicott Foundation asked for an article about a Change.org petition I wrote in April 2011 calling for radiation monitoring of food. Someone else suggested it become an Ebook, then another person asked for it in print. It’s a diary of events following the Fukushima disaster, leading up to the formation of FFAN and our first senate meetings. It explains how we got into this mess with nuclear power and the citizen response. Atoms for Peace led us down the wrong path, but it’s not too late to protect our children by transitioning to renewable energy.

What is FFAN and what is its mission?

FFAN is the only group in the U.S. working on safe food policy in response to Fukushima. Our mission is to hold elected officials and government agencies responsible for food safety. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fosters the highest allowable level for radiation in food in the world—12 times higher than Japan’s limits—which means that food deemed unfit for Japanese citizens to eat is considered fine in the U.S. It’s a huge loophole that FFAN addressed in our Citizen Petition legal document filed with the FDA in March 2013, calling for a significant reduction of radiation in food.  

How has the FDA responded to the petition? Is the EPA involved?

To date, the FDA has not responded other than a form letter. In fact, the FDA issued a widely criticized advisory that pregnant women eat more seafood after Fukushima began. Despite much opposition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently raised permissible levels for radiation in drinking water. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership would weaken standards further. It’s up to individuals to take action to safeguard our loved ones. After GMO-labeling happens, resources will hopefully redirect to radiation awareness and monitoring. Organic Consumers Association and Public Citizen endorse FFAN.

How does radiation harm humans?   

When ingested, radiation weakens internal organs. Cancer now strikes one out of every two men and one out of every three women, according to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. Those statistics are shocking. Heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders are also related to radiation exposures, with children being the most vulnerable.

Why did you create the Radiation Awareness Protection Talk (RAPT) Program?  

Having trained and worked as a holistic nutritionist for over 10 years prior to Fukushima, I recognized a void of reliable information in the general public based on fact, not fear. There are some hard realities to face, which should only be addressed with credible information. As FFAN’s volunteer director, I’ve tracked developments around Fukushima since it began. Three Mile Island survivor, Libbe HaLevy, joined me in compiling the best practices to help safeguard health, and RAPT grew from that research. Mindfulness is more important than ever considering how long it’s taking our government agencies to enact responsible guidelines.

What are some things we can do to best protect ourselves?   

Water is a big concern, so filtration is crucial. Some filters are better than others, which we discuss in the RAPT program. Taking a high-quality multi-vitamin mineral supplement is important, for kids too. People living near nuclear reactors are told to take iodide to protect the thyroid in the event of a nuclear accident, and the same principle, called selective uptake, applies here. Healthy calcium and nutrients protect bones, which helps block radioactive strontium. Purified zeolite is also detoxifying.

Kimberly Roberson is a certified Nutrition Educator, former Greenpeace nuclear campaigner, and is co-producer of RAPT. She is featured in the July installment of Unity TV’s Positive Spin on Comcast and DirecTV. Roberson consults at NewHealthDesign.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Natural Living Directory 2016

Natural Awakenings EastBay brings our readers the Healthy Living Resource Guide for complementary and integrative health services and green and healthy products to help you live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

1st Annual Natural Living Directory

This special annual directory of Natural Awakenings magazine will serve as a handy reference guide for consumers to keep at their fingertips all year long when searching for the products and services they want to live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

How to Eat Desserts Daily for Health

Liana Werner-Gray shares her experiences after overcoming major health challenges and finding ways to creatively eat foods she loves while nourishing her body.

Food Safety Advocates Shed Light on DARK Act

On July 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, nicknamed the Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act, or DARK Act, by food safety advocates.