Tobacco smokers in Japan are in for a bit of an eye-opener about their already unhealthy smoking habit: Japan Tobacco Inc. has established that some of its dried tobacco leaves coming from Fukushima Prefecture this year tested positive for radioactive cesium at levels above the 100 becquerels per kilogram limit. While this shouldn’t cause a panic, as the tobacco products will cancel the order for the 4.5 tons of leaves, but would it really have been that much worse if some cigs, which already cause cancer, had some radiation thrown in too?
After last years tsunami sharply damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, releasing large amounts of radiation into the environment, the harvesting of tobacco leaves from parts of the prefecture was stopped. Japan Tobacco declared that leaves grown in most places have regularly tested with “safe” levels of Radioactive cesium, but recent sample checks found that tobacco from three industries in the city of Shirakawa that measured with 110.7 becquerels.
The cigarette manufacturer has said that this is the first time in their inspections that they have found leaves testing above the limit. Japan Tobacco adds that sample checks of product from other places of the disaster-hit region, including the prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, Yamagata, Ibaraki, and Tochigi, have been found to be safer. The company reported that it will continue its inspections at three stages, including before the commercial cultivation of tobacco products.