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Japan, Radiation, Cars and You! pt 1

As we are all aware two natural disasters struck Japan on Mar 11, 2011 and devastated the area and cost many lives, destroyed homes, and businesses. We should all have sympathy for the Japanese people. Unfortunately the longest lasting and farthest reaching problem is that of radiation leakage from the TEPCO owned Fukushima Daiichi reactors which was a result of the natural disasters.

The radiation that leaked from those plants was originally thought to have affected 1 prefecture (state) in Japan, but the latest information is 6 prefectures. The Japanese government originally  told their citizens that 20Km distance was enough, but the US Military said 80 Km. Now TEPCO is dumping millions of gallons of radioactive water in the ocean which is twenty thousand (20,000) times above limits. The Miyagi prefecture will start radiation measuring for industrial goods and Cesium has been detected at high levels along the Fukushima coast.

Japan does export some food and countries near it like S. Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and China have refused shipments because the food and packaging were contaminated. China refused to allow a plane to land because of radiation.

We are all exposed to radiation every minute of the day, and most of it is so low that health risk from it is very low or acceptable. Radiation is not like a pack of cigarettes or alcohol that has warning labels all over where you can choose to use it or not. Radiation does have a cumulative effect in the body and can destroy it if in too large of dose.

What is too large a dose?

The dose rate is expressed as Roentgens per hour (R/hr). Government agencies advise to try to limit your normal exposure to 5 rad per year and 25 rad for lifetime. In a widespread nuclear emergency staying under 100 rads for healthy adults is survivable and usually does not require aggressive medical attention. Receiving more than 500 R within a few days is more likely to be fatal, even with aggressive medical treatment.

Japan as a country is resource poor that is they must import everything to build the products they export to the world. Japan is one of the biggest exporters of automobiles and automobile parts in the world. Those raw materials must be stored, but they are not kept in radiation proof concrete buildings and must have been contaminated with radiation. Even Japan does not know what was or was not contaminated or even how bad.

How does this affect you, your family and the automotive industry?

The three major Japanese automakers, Toyota, Nissan and Honda, have American plants that produce most of the models they sell in the United States. However many luxury cars, like the Lexus, or the smaller, fuel-efficient cars, like the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit, are built in Japan. These vehicles and many of the parts for their other cars ship to plants outside of Japan, as well as replacement parts to its dealer networks for repair and service.

As potential purchasers of these vehicles you should be aware that dangers exist and choose how much risk you and your family should accept to be the owner of one of these vehicles.

Mechanics that service these vehicles, receiving and installing parts, need a way to know that a part or a car has excessive radiation. Then choose how to best protect ourselves even when that includes refusing the part or refusing to service a vehicle. We need to be aware of the accumulated radiation in ourselves and monitor it.

Some of the choices of warning device are the traditional Geiger detector with a meter for you to decide when a safe limit has been reached. There is the badge type, but you have to look at it. Another is the NukAlert™ nuclear radiation detector / monitor (keychain attachable) that is reasonably priced and very feature rich including 10 preset levels and audible alarms with a battery life stated as 10 years.

Whether you choose to take precautions, purchase one of these devices or not, is a personal choice. It really comes down to how much risk you are blindly willing to accept. Perhaps the best way to understand is, “It is better to carry an umbrella and not need it than to need it and not have it!”

If you want to do your own “due diligence” and see if a Geiger detector device is in you and your family’s best interest or if you are just curious this site has a  large selection of radioactivity detectors;

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Comparing our 2X80S to competitors

Controls Data Corruption
Improved Data Speed
Enhanced Software Included
Phone Tablet PDA Capable
Multiple PC Applications
Multiple Phone Tablet PDA Applications
2 Wheel Vehicle Applications
Component Specs
OBD Training
Legacy OS Support
  Yes or Included           No or not included              Some or limited
All above information is based on published information as of 01/2015 or products purchsed to confirm

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