Radioactive traces of nuclear tests in US honey. Radioactivity dating back to nuclear tests conducted in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States
After the end of the Second World Warwith the beginning of the Cold War, although there was no real conflict between the sides, the two great countries USA and URSS, nevertheless continued to aspire to military supremacy.
Hundreds of atomic bombs were detonated, many in the atmosphere, others in the Pacific Ocean and still others underground, with the result of having polluted and destroyed environments that were once veritable pristine paradises.
The radiation spread into the atmosphere and were transported around the world, then falling back as radioactive fallout. Decades after the last test, traces of those radioactive elements are still detectable in the soil and even in what we eat, as shown by a new study that has detected the radioactive isotope Cesium-137 in USA honey.
Radioactive traces of nuclear tests in US honey
The isotope is in concentrations not harmful to health, and it was discovered by a research team led by scientists from the William & Mary University of Williamsburg, Virginia, and of the Center for Environmental Sciences of the University of Maryland at Frostburg.
Jar of honey contained concentrations of Cesium-137 one hundred times higher than those of other foods. Professor Jim Kaste made several attempts because he felt that something was wrong with his detector, but it was the actual radioactive contamination of the honey.
Of the 122 samples analyzed, in fact, 68 showed traces of Cesium-137, an isotope generated by nuclear fission that occurs in atomic bombs detonated in the air. As indicated, atmospheric cycles spread the radioactive fallout from nuclear tests around the world, which fell to earth mostly through rain.
Curiously, however, the most contaminated honey did not come from the wettest regions of the United States. As indicated, the traces detected by Kaste and colleagues are not considered harmful to humans, having a concentration below 50-100 becquerels per kilogram, but it is only a fraction of those potentially detectable in the 1960s and ' 70.
At the time, most likely, the radioactivity was such as to be harmful to the bees themselves and also to those who consumed their honey.