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Recently, American scientists were surprised to find that honey from the United States contains radioactive substances. The discovery was made by accident when Professor Jim Kaste asked his students to bring locally sourced food to class. He wanted to show that the fruits, vegetables and other food they eat always contain small amounts of potentially hazardous substances.
Cesium-137, which is formed in nuclear explosions, was indeed found in the products brought by the children. The concentration of the substance was minimal and not hazardous to human health, however, its amount in bee honey was 100 times higher than usual. The man informed the scientists about this and together they began to find out why the concentration of radioactive substances in honey is higher than in other food products. The answer to this question was found pretty quickly.
Hazardous Substances in Food
Scientists have known for a long time why food contains radioactive substances. In the 1960s, the United States, the USSR and other countries conducted many nuclear tests. Usually explosions thundered at high altitudes, in the Earth's atmosphere - so the experiments were the least noticeable and the safest. Most of the tests were conducted over the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean and over the archipelago in northern Russia, referred to as Novaya Zemlya.
More than 500 explosions have released a lot of radioactive cesium-137, according to scientists. It spread over the earth's surface along with the rains and therefore the fruits and vegetables growing today contain traces of radioactive substances.
In 2017, Professor Jim Caste instructed his students to bring products that were grown in the USA to the lesson. He showed them that each of the food, at least a little, but contains radioactive substances.
To his surprise, the professor discovered that the concentration of cesium-137 in bee honey is about a hundred times higher than in other products. According to him, at first he thought that his detector had broken. A second analysis showed the same result - there is a lot of dangerous substances in honey.
Why is honey radioactive?
To find out why honey contains so many radioactive substances, the researchers looked at 122 samples of raw, pure, and unfiltered honey. Traces of cesium-137 were found in 68 samples. It turned out that honey with radioactive substances was produced by bees from plants that grow in soil with low potassium content. Plants need this chemical element to obtain nutrients.
Since potassium and cesium have a similar series of atomic properties, plants from low-noble soils begin to absorb radioactive elements. It gets into the nectar, which is collected by the bees. During the production of honey, the concentration of cesium increases.
Fortunately, scientists assure that there are too few radioactive substances in honey to harm human health. However, in the second half of the 20th century, when they just fell to the surface of the Earth, the food used could be very dangerous. It is possible that products grown in soils with potentially hazardous substances have reduced the lives of some people. But it’s impossible to say for sure.
According to Jim Caste, the radioactive substances were most likely to harm the bees. At the moment, scientists are very much concerned that the population of honey insects has begun to decline sharply. The fact is that they are pollinators and without them it is not worth counting on large yields of agricultural crops.
Until now, it was believed that insects were dying out due to environmental pollution with plastic - this material has even begun to be used to build nests.Now it turns out that bees can die out due to the consequences of nuclear explosions.