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Milk sold near Chernobyl still radioactive, 30 years after the accident... Cesium persists for hundreds of years

Radioactive cesium

(NaturalNews) 30 years ago the world's worst nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in Ukraine released a lot of radioactive particles into the atmosphere which killed 31 people and made an 18.6-sqaure-mile exclusion zone around the reactor unsafe for humans for at least the next 20,000 years.

Gubarevichi, a small town in Belarus, just on the edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, seems to have picked up life and the authoritarian government of this agriculture-dependent nation is determined to restore its land for farm use.

The Associated Press (AP) reporters ventured into this "safe" zone and visited a farmer, Nikolai Chubenok, who herds 50 dairy cows and produces up to two tons of milk every day for a local factory, Milkavita, that produces milk and Parmesan cheese for the local and Russian market.

His farm lays just 28 miles north of the shuttered Chernobyl site, and a mile from the boundary of a zone where radioactive contamination from fallout is the highest and all public access and inhabitation are restricted.

Radioactive levels in milk 10 times higher than food safety limits

When Nikolai kindly offered the reporters a fresh glass of milk, they politely declined and sent the sample to a laboratory, which found radioactivity levels to be higher than the nation's food safety limits.

The lab screened the milk for strontium-90, a radioactive isotope linked to cancers and cardiovascular disease. According to the Belarusian Agriculture Ministry, levels shouldn't exceed 3.7 becquerels per kilogram. However, the sample from Nikolai's farm contained 37.5 becquerels.

These findings are in strong contrast with internal tests run by Milkavita. According to them, every six months' tests that are run show traces of radioactive isotopes in their milk to be well below the safety limits.

"It's impossible. We do our own testing. There must have been a mix-up," Milkavita's chief engineer told the AP journalists.

Radioactive milk diluted to hide radioactivity

When the reporters contacted the Belarusian Emergency Situations Ministry, which is responsible for dealing with the fallout of the nuclear disaster, they said they would not comment on the AP findings.

The deputy director of the Belarus' Institute of Radiobiology, Natalya Timokhina, says food producers in Belarus are allowed to conduct their own tests, but they lack the equipment to identify some of the radioactive compounds.

Up until now, the government has not funded any equipment or other resources to scrutinize corrupt practices in the food supply. One of these practices is blending heavily contaminated products, like milk, to dilute the radioactive impact.

The AP reported that, according to Irina Sukhiy, founder of the Belarus ecological group Green Network: "Such alleged mixing reduces... the level of potentially carcinogenic isotopes in dairy products and processed meat below 'the allowable dose, but it is still hazardous to health.'"

Belarus is failing to protect its citizens

Farmers who live on the edge or in the prohibited zone note that they have not seen any obvious signs of nuclear dangers, nor have they been given any instructions on how to reduce exposure.

Chubenok, the dairy farmer, has actually never heard of the substance Ferocin, also known as Prussian Blue, which farmers in Ukraine feed their cattle to accelerate the removal of the cesium-137 isotope from their digestive tracts.

Another farmer, Leonid Kravchenko, notes he has never seen any official radiation testing of the soil and believes that there is nothing to be worried about.

"We're not afraid of radiation. We've already gotten used to it," he said.

Victor Khanayev, a surgeon in the Russian district of Novozybkov, explained that many people in the affected region are poor and often have no other choice than to feed their family with contaminated food.

Halina Chmulevych, a single mother of two living in a village in Ukraine, is one of them. She has little choice but to feed her children contaminated food.

The Daily Mail reported:

"'We have milk and bake bread ourselves that yes is with radiation,' she was quoted as saying. 'Everything here is with radiation. Of course it worries me, but what can I do?'"

One of the surest ways to know the food you're eating is clean and uncontaminated is to grow it yourself. Join the rising Food Revolution to learn more!

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