Cesium-137, a component of radioactive waste, found in honey

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Cesium-137, a component of radioactive waste, found in honey

Honey is a treasure trove of nutrients and is known and used not only as a treat but also as a medicine. Scientists know its composition. They found that it can be influenced by local conditions. They could not have been more surprised when they accidentally found the presence of radioactive cesium-137 in honey from the East Coast of the United States. The analysis was conducted by graduate students at a university to determine the concentration of harmful substances in some food samples.

The news became, if not a sensation, but prompted speculation about how the radioactive isotope could have appeared in honey. After considering several possible options, scientists are inclined to believe it is a Cold War legacy. At that time, there were active tests of various kinds of weapons on U.S. soil. Probably among them were tests of weapons of mass destruction with radioactive charges. The particles ended up in the air, then, settled on honeybees, and the bees, collecting nectar and pollen, added them to the honey.

Scientists analyzed 122 samples of honey from the East Coast. Sixty-eight of them contained dangerous isotopes. Their concentration was 100 times higher than in other products from the same region. Nevertheless, it is significantly lower than the acceptable standards adopted in America. Despite the fact that the consumption of even such honey is not seriously dangerous, people should think about the consequences of nuclear weapons testing. The consequences will reverberate for tens and perhaps hundreds of years to come.

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