Flora and Fauna | Environment

Is Fukushima Radiation Causing Pacific Starfish Die-offs?

EarthFix | Feb. 18, 2014 4 a.m. | Updated: Jan. 20, 2015 1:22 p.m.

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Scientists in Washington state are conducting lab-based infectiousnesss experiments to understand how the epidemic is spreading.

Scientists in Washington state are conducting lab-based infectiousnesss experiments to understand how the epidemic is spreading.

Katie Campbell

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The short answer is almost definitely no. Scientists do not see a connection between the massive die-offs of starfish along the Pacific shores of North America and Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Since we produced this story a few weeks ago and this

aired on the PBS NewsHour, it’s been shared worldwide and viewed online almost a million times. Hundreds of viewers have left comments, many asserting that radiation must be what’s killing the starfish, or sea stars as scientists prefer to call them since they aren’t fish.

Some reasons scientists don’t think radiation is behind these die-offs:

Join us for a live video screening and chat

At Noon (Pacific) on Wednesday, Feb. 19 for a live online video screening and chat about sea star wasting. Read more here …

Researchers in Washington state are conducting infectiousness experiments to learn more about how this syndrome is spreading. They’re narrowing down the possibilities and may be close to an answer. Before they make an announcement, they will have their research methods and findings reviewed by the larger scientific community.

—Katie Campbell

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