Although radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl reactor catastrophe is now only present in small quantities in most foodstuffs in Germany, individual wild mushroom species, especially in southern Germany, may still be heavily contaminated with radioactive caesium. The current mushroom report of the BfS shows this.
Measurement results published by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) prove that the effects of the Chernobyl reactor catastrophe can still be observed in Germany after 34 years. According to these results, individual wild mushroom species in certain regions, especially in southern Germany, are still heavily contaminated with radioactivity, reports the BfS in a statement.
Many people love to roam through meadows and forests in autumn and bring home delicious mushrooms. But caution is advisable here. Because in some regions individual wild mushroom species are still radioactively contaminated even more than 30 years after the Chernobyl reactor disaster.
Radioactive contamination of mushrooms
This report summarizes the results of a monitoring program in which wild mushrooms are collected at selected sites and measured for their radioactive caesium (caesium-137) content.
“Anyone who buys wild mushrooms from the trade does not need to worry about radioactive caesium. Here a limit of 600 Becquerel per kilogram fresh mass applies”, explains Inge Paulini, president of the BfS.
“There is no health hazard from eating these mushrooms, but if you leave them in nature, you can easily avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. There are many other mushroom types, which enrich caesium-137 only in small quantities”.
Contaminated with radioactive caesium
“But if you pick mushrooms yourself, it is worth taking a closer look. Especially in the Bavarian Forest or on the edge of the Alps, for example, bread stubble mushrooms, chestnut boletuses or yellow-stalked trumpet pipers can have elevated caesium values,” the expert says.
According to the experts, the level of exposure to caesium-137 varies greatly depending on the type of mushroom and from one location to another. Measured values of over 1,000 Becquerel caesium-137 per kilogram of fresh mass have been found in the last three years in the following fungi:
Whether these unexpectedly high measured values are confirmed also in the year 2020 and which causes are responsible for it, the BfS examines in the context of the measuring campaigns of this year.
According to the data, in 2019, especially bread stubble mushrooms at the northern edge of the Bavarian Forest National Park showed peak values of more than 4,000 Becquerel caesium-137 per kilogram of fresh mass.
According to the data, rain occurred in these areas after the reactor disaster in Chernobyl during the passage of radioactive air masses in early May 1986, which washed radioactive particles out of the atmosphere. Radioactive caesium can be easily absorbed by wild mushrooms from forest soils.
According to the BfS, however, nobody has to fear negative health consequences due to the radioactivity if even collected mushrooms are eaten in normal quantities (about 250 grams per week).
The experts of the BfS advise mushroom collectors and – collecting tank inside in the more highly loaded areas of Germany, like for example the Bavarian forest or the edge of the Alps to inform about the radioactive load of wild mushrooms.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.