By Lucas W. Hixson, Enformable.com As our readers may be aware, on multiple occasions over the last two years Russia has made data public on contaminated imports from Japan which have been sent back due to radiation concerns. In early August, Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s federal customer rights protection agency told Russian media outlets that some 112 contaminated batch lots of goods from Japan had been barred from entering the country after failing radiation tests.
In one Russian report, the head of Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onishckenko said the agency was still concerned about the import of contaminated used cars from Japan. Every month some 18,000 vehicles from Japan are imported into Russia, and every month dozens of them have been sent back due to failed radiation tests.
According to RIA Novosti, many Japanese used cars enter Russia through the seaport at Vladivostok. “[Our] specialists keep detecting used and disassembled cars, specialized equipment, and containers with spare parts that show radioactive contamination,” a Russian customs official told RIA Novosti. “Since the disaster at Fukushima [Daiichi], 697 such items have been detected [at the port of Vladivostok], 591 were banned from entrance.”
Naturally, I wanted to see if I could get the same information from the United States Customs and Border Patrol Agency. I contacted them and spoke with one of their Public Affairs officials. I requested the total number of vehicles and shipping containers from Japan which had failed radiation tests for a period between January of 2011 and to date. I was first told that the information requested was not immediately available, and that they would be unable to meet my press deadline. After I followed up a few days later and asked whether or not I would have to file a FOIA request to get this information, I was told that they had checked with multiple offices within the CBP and unfortunately “the specific information” I had requested was not tracked, instead of not immediately available.
All this has brought me to wonder whether or not we are being vigilant or whether we are asleep at the wheel. I spoke to Arnie Gundersen with Fairewinds Energy Education to get his take. He said, “I’m not surprised, I don’t think we are even monitoring the fish from the Pacific, let alone the used car imports. I wish we were doing more, but I would be happy to hear that we were even testing fish.”