When the thought of radioactivity come to my mind I immediately jump to 'Blinky' the three-eyed fish from the Fox Television series The Simpsons. I don't generally think about paring a glass of red wine and nuclear events, but French scientists are saying the two can and have been paired. Red wine from California, specifically Northern California, has tested positive for radioactivity linked to the 2011 disaster involving the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan.

In a new study, the researchers report testing 18 bottles of California rosé and cabernet sauvignon from 2009 onward and found that levels of radioactive particles in the wine produced after the Fukushima disaster increased. In the case of the cabernet, the levels of the radioactive materials doubled.

Now having radioactive wine is nothing new actually. Wines made around major nuclear events, including American and Soviet nuclear tests during the Cold War and the Chernobyl accident, can show higher levels of radioactive isotopes, called cesium-137, according to the French researchers. The man-made isotope cannot be found in nature and would be found at certain levels after the nuclear events.

Don't worry, scientists are saying the level of radioactivity is safe for consumption. According to an article from the New York Times:

"Ingesting cesium-137 can result in an elevated risk for cancer, but the level of radioactive material from Fukushima in food and drink in countries outside Japan has been too low to result in a health hazard, according to the World Health Organization." - The New York Times Mihir Zaveri July 20, 2018

The California Department of Public Health said Friday that it had not previously heard of the study, but that there were no “health and safety concerns to California residents.” In fact, the levels were SO LOW that the researchers had to use a special technique to measure them: burning the wine to ashes.


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