Some days, I think I have real problems. I think about the health and safety of my kids and worry about their exposure to pesticides in their foods, sulfates in their grooming products, and volatile organic chemicals in our home. But then a story like this comes along and it reminds me that I don't know what real problems are — what real worry is.
City officials in Fukushima, Japan, announced this week that they would give radiation dosimeters to 34,000 children to gauge their exposure to radiation from the crippled nuclear power plant that stands about 40 miles away. All children between the ages of 4 and 15 will be given the measuring devices to be worn around the clock for the next three months. Each child will have his dosimeter read once a month to get a reading of their accumulated radiation exposure.
Fukushima is outside the government's 12-mile evacuation and no-go zone around the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but as you can imagine, many residents are concerned about radiation, particularly when it comes to the children.
In a similar move, the city of Date, which is 8 miles from Fukushima and also just outside Japan's no-go zone, also plans to distribute dosimeters to all of its 8,000 pre-school, elementary and junior high pupils.
City officials in both towns hope that the dosimeter readings will ease parents' worries over their children's exposure to radiation. Let's hope that the readings do just that — and that they do not confirm these parents' worst fears about the health and well-being of their children.