Answer to Question #11250 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Power, Devices, and Accidents — Nuclear and Radiation Accidents

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


Could you tell me specifically why I should not worry about buying a car or other products produced in Japan? Being specific really helps me believe the answers.

First of all, I suggest you read related questions and answers on our website (for example, Q10093 and Q10792) that deal with this subject. I'm aware that Fukushima fallout has been detected on used cars from Japan. That occurred in Russia, which imports most of them. That occurred in 2012, only one year after the accident. Now, four years on, most of the fallout is gone due to natural decay and weathering.
Regarding new cars, there are no automobile factories in northeast Japan. None were close enough to be affected by the accident. Rather than focusing on car parts that could be exposed, let's focus on whether people could be exposed. I'm more concerned with food produced in the area around Fukushima. Of course, so is the Japanese government. Testing of food products that could reach markets is ongoing and effective. Testing is also done on many products exported from Japan to the United States and elsewhere. 
In summary, here are three reasons not to worry:
  1. The time since the accident has greatly reduced the amount of fallout.
  2. Automobiles (and most other products) are produced far from Fukushima.
  3. Exports from Japan are being carefullymonitored.

Joel Cehn, CHP

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Answer posted on 8 June 2015. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.