‘Car shipment free of radioactive agents’
Front Page
August 26, 2011

‘Car shipment free of radioactive agents’

Buyers of used vehicles imported from Japan are being given the all clear that it is safe to continue to do so, and that they are free of any radioactive contaminants.{{more}}
Dr St Clair Thomas, this country’s Chief Medical Officer, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on the issue, said that in his professional opinion, it was difficult for radioactive agents to contaminate the metals used in the manufacture of automobiles.
“I really do not think it affects us in any way,” Thomas said.
The issue of the possibility of vehicles from Japan being contaminated with radioactive material surfaced following damage sustained by nuclear power plants during a major earthquake that rocked Japan in March this year.
A car boat from Japan called at Port Kingstown on Tuesday, August 23, and dropped off 32 new and used vehicles.
This was not the first visit by a car boat to St. Vincent and the Grenadines since the March earthquake.

A report in the Barbados Nation last weekend indicated that last week Friday, health officials in that country tested over 250 used vehicles which had been imported from Japan, into Barbados, for levels of radiation.

A subsequent article in the Nation of August 23, however, reported that the vehicles passed the test and there were no levels of radiation above background levels.
While admitting that there was a lack of the requisite tools for testing here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thomas contended that metals could not “pick up and hold radioactive substances.”
“Radioactive substances could affect employees and live tissue, but it cannot affect iron, zinc and aluminum,” he told SEARCHLIGHT, adding in his opinion, there was nothing to worry about.
“We shouldn’t be alarmed about radioactive elements being imported through vehicles from Japan,” the CMO said.
Curtis Lewis, used car importer and dealer further alleviated any fears saying that it had become standard for all vehicles leaving Japan to be scanned.
Nicholas Gill of Coreas automotive department told SEARCHLIGHT that he too had heard about steps that the Japanese had been taking within recent times to ensure that the vehicles being exported were free of radioactive agents.
He explained that Coreas had not been importing used vehicles in same quantities as some other local dealers, but contended that when dealers import vehicles it was usually from different areas across Japan.
“They will have an auction, and then the dealerships will go and purchase the vehicles for re-sale.”
This, according to Gill, gave some indication that some of the vehicles may not have originated from regions close to the danger zones.

“It is something that needs to be investigated,” he opined, however adding that while he was in agreement with Dr Thomas that it was not likely that the metals used in the automobile industry could contaminated with radioactive agents.(DD)