Photographs from iReporter felixlace show Tokyo store shelves with dwindling food resources.
As Japan struggles to find footing after an earthquake and tsunami devastated much of the country, a nuclear threat now looms over the land as reactors suffer physical damage, allowing the release of radiation into the atmosphere.
Today, World Health Organization spokesman Peter Cordingley claimed that short-term exposure to food contaminated by radiation from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant poses no immediate health risk. This echoes Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano's stated belief that the levels of radiation in food - while above the legal standards - do not pose any immediate health risk, and that they are mostly dangerous only if consumed repeatedly over one's lifetime.
While Dr. James Cox, an oncology professor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, tells CNN's Thom Patterson that he believes the radiation levels measured in milk and spinach that tested positive for radioactive cesium-137 and iodine-131 isotopes pose a "nonexistent" immediate risk to humans, and "very low" long-term risk, he concedes that "radiation doses ingested through food is really very poorly understood."
Dr. Cox also notes that while there was a higher instance of cancer in Chernobyl residents who drank contaminated milk, its effect was inconclusive, as the subjects had been exposed to radiation in other ways.
Mr. Cordingley reports that Japanese citizens are keeping a much closer eye on the origins of their food, and sees this as "a wise practice."
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