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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Health Canada “negligent” on Fukushima nuclear-radiation threats, Liberal MP Joyce Murray claims

Last year, Joyce Murray dyed her hair red to honour cystic fibrosis fighter Eva Markvoort; now, her hair is on fire over the government’s response to potential radiation threats to Canadians.
By Matthew Burrows,
The Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP has criticized Health Canada’s “negligent” job informing Canadians of potential health risks relating to radiation levels following Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
“I think they have been negligent from the perspective of being clear and transparent with Canadians about this issue, right from the beginning,” Joyce Murray told theGeorgia Straight by phone.
“And during the election, there were people in Vancouver that were concerned because they couldn’t get the straight story from Health Canada’s website. They felt that the monitoring was very inadequate and there was not clear messaging from Health Canada. I think people do deserve to have a straightforward assessment. If there’s little risk, that should be backed up.”
In his story in today’s (August 4) Straight, Alex Roslin noted that despite sustained levels of iodine-131 that far exceeded allowable levels, “government officials claimed there was nothing to worry about”.
“The quantities of radioactive materials reaching Canada as a result of the Japanese nuclear incident are very small and do not pose any health risk to Canadians,” Roslin quoted Health Canada as saying on its website. “The very slight increases in radiation across the country have been smaller than the normal day-to-day fluctuations from background radiation.”
Health Canada did not respond to Roslin’s requests for an interview.
Murray said: “I think it’s important that the Straight is raising this issue.”
The two-term MP and one-time provincial MLA said she understands that “Health Canada doesn’t want to create panic where it’s not necessary”, but she said she has a number of concerns.

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