Rutgers Scientist: I Would Drink Tokyo Water

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    TK
    AP
    ALTERNATE CROP OF TOK870 OF MARCH 17, 2011 - In this photo taken on Wednesday afternoon, March 16, 2011 and released on Thursday, March 17 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the top part of the badly damaged No. 4 unit of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, is shown. A nearly completed new power line could restore cooling systems in Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant, its operator said Thursday, raising some hope of easing the crisis that has threatened a meltdown and already spawned dangerous radiation surges. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.) EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES

    Rutgers University scientist and radiation safety officer Patrick McDermott says he would not hesitate to drink a glass or two of Tokyo water, or even water closer to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

    McDermott said radiation is dependent on both dosage and amount over time.

    And even a dose over recommended limits can be tolerated by the body, if it isn't followed by repeated doses.

    As McDermott explained, it is the accumulation of excess radiation over time that poses the biggest risk to humans.

    That is why workers in the Daiichi station can expose themselves for a few moments to high levels of radiation, but then have to withdraw from such exposure.

    "You can have a very intense radiation field," McDermott said, "but if you're only there for a short period of time your total radiation dose, and therefore your risk, is very, very small."

    As long as they don't accumulate too much, McDermott believes they should be OK.

    He recommends a website, www.hps.org for a good primer on why he would drink the water, or at least a couple of glasses of it.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY