With health concerns arising before the onset of hay fever season, the Forestry Agency said on Dec. 27 that the impact of cedar pollen being contaminated with radioactive cesium on humans will be "small."
The agency's conclusion is based on the findings of its survey conducted at 87 sites in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The level of cesium a person inhales was estimated at 0.000192 microsievert per hour on the assumption that the amount of airborne pollen was 2,207 per cubic meter, the highest level observed in the Kanto region, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, in the past nine years.
The agency is also conducting the survey in 14 additional prefectures.
Meanwhile, the amount of airborne cedar and cypress pollen this spring will be lower than in an average year nationwide due to shorter sunshine hours in August, according to a forecast by the Environment Ministry.
The ministry said Dec. 27 that compared with an average year, the amount of pollen dispersal will be down by 30-40 percent in northeastern Japan except for some areas, while the regions of Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu will have 20-30 percent less.
In eastern Japan, that will translate into 20 percent to 40 percent of the levels observed last spring, in which airborne pollen amounts were larger than an average year. In western Japan, it will be 20 percent to 70 percent of the levels of last spring.
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