Government and independent experts last week gave a new round of reassurance that higher-than-normal radiation levels along the Surfer’s Beach were not from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan and nothing to be concerned about. In fact, the relatively high level of radioactivity has likely been around Half Moon Bay and other spots on the California coast for a long time.

Thomas Ward, a nuclear consultant with the U.S. Department of Energy, believes Surfer’s Beach is what is known as a “black sand” beach, a sandy spot that accumulates rare earth metals and other heavy elements. Last week, independent analysts confirmed that the main source for the heightened radiation at Surfer’s Beach was naturally occurring thorium and not cesium-137 released when the Fukushima plant melted down in 2011. Ward indicated that shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

“This beach has been known for the last 40 to 50 years to contain these radioactive sands,” he said. “It’s not considered a radiation hazard, so long as you’re not eating it, and you’re not living on it, 24/7.”

In 1962, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, studying tidal drift noted radioactive thorium along the California coast. The study found thorium traces along the coast from the Russian River down to San Francisco. At the time, the study team didn’t try to pinpoint the source of the radioactive metal. Instead, its members concluded that it had to be coming from some regional source, likely a granite pocket somewhere along a river or beach.

Ward explained that he studied a similar stretch of black sand beaches that covered a large swath of Long Island in New York. He pointed out a black sand beach in Kerala, India, that shows natural radiation as high as 10 REM, a level that would make it nearly 100 times more radioactive than what has been measured off the San Mateo County coast. Yet Indian families have lived close to the Kerala beach for generations and have not shown genetic defects, he explained.

“It’s not a health hazard. It’s an anomaly, a geophysical anomaly,” Ward said.

Concern about local beach radiation exploded last month after a YouTube video was showing what some believed was the first major landing of radioactive material on the West Coast from the Japanese disaster. The video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and sparked a regional health scare. Local health officials performed their own study a few days later.

Wendy Hopkins, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health, said inspectors found no public health risks due to radioactivity in Half Moon Bay. The department is still analyzing sand samples from the area and will post its results on its website.

The radiation scare did have one interesting side effect. Biology teacher Barbara Lohman said the surge in interest in local radioactivity encouraged the Half Moon Bay High School science faculty to put in an order for new Geiger counters. She hoped that soon students would be able to do their own radiation surveys.

“We’d like to keep monitoring the radiation level as part of our environmental science and marine ecology classes,” she said. “The students are very interested.”

(12) comments

John Charles Ullom

Isis, do you really have facts that back up your assertion that Radioactivity is depleting oxygen in the ocean?

I was taught that algae blooms, fueled by fertilizer runoff and enhanced by climate change are the root cause of Dead Zones and Oxygen Depletion.

I'll buy into the rest of your assertions but radiation does not affect how much O2 is dissolved in a body of water. When people make ridiculous claims like that, it makes it harder to see the validity of what they say.

But maybe I missed something. Can you show me where I can find info that explains how radioactivity reduces the amount of O2 that is dissolved in the oceans. If you can, (I don't think you can), I would like to read and learn.


Here is another story on rain.


You have called me out so I will have to give you some articles. gathers articles from scientists, and news agencies all over the world.

"Unprecedented mass of oxygen-poor water near shore." Radiation is in the air and water.

Now look at all the stories from the animal die offs and what do they say? Lack of oxygen in the water could be the cause. You just have to put it all together.

Click on these stories on this map and see what they say -I dare ya! They are all completely different news agencies.

So how could it be that the lakes around the US are oxygen depleted? Do you know how our weather works?

More info for ya!

What do you think?

John Charles Ullom


"Radiation is picked up in the rain and dropped all over. So it is with the ocean. Because it is filling up with radiation, there is a lack of oxygen."

Radiation depletes oxyegen in the ocean? Really? Are you really, really sure that is the case?

I call BS.


Here is a map on Google of all of the animal die offs around the world.

This an unbiased look at news stories on animal die offs and their locations. Most all of the stories talk about lack of oxygen in lakes or bodies of water.

Radiation is picked up in the rain and dropped all over. So it is with the ocean. Because it is filling up with radiation, there is a lack of oxygen.

If you think this normal - it is not!


i believe this is a 1960's era book discussing radioactivity naturally occuring in the california coast due to thorium


It is hard to believe that anyone would think that US government agencies are telling the truth about the radiation.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is covering it up along with the EPA, DOE,
DOD, and the DHS. The Associated Press obtained documents through Freedom of Information Act for the days after the earthquake which were communications between these departments. (See video of documents below.) They have colluded to intentionally cover up the fact that radiation is here in the US and they have done testing.

Here is another story on Canada withholding information.

Because of the this above information and many other articles about the government withholding information, I would be hard pressed to believe the government. I mean come on guys, have you read on the stories on the NSA? Do you really believe our government is trustworthy? Wakeup before it is too late!

Here is your own Dr Stephen Hosea, from Santa Barbara, giving a presentation on the Fukushima history and medical concerns, last month..

Before any of you call someone an alarmist, you need to go to the highest source of information and read. Educate yourselves and don't just sit in front of the local or national news. Your local and national stations are not telling you the truth, search elsewhere, here are some examples. energy news

And many of us are watching beautifulgirlbydana on youtube for nightly updates.

This is real and this is serious and if we all don't look at the truth and figure out what to do, well it won't be good.

I believe there are brilliant people out there that could figure out what to do and I have seen many suggestions on It is not hopeless unless you fail to recognize the absolute seriousness of this situation.

Remember, the Fukushima plant has been leaking 400 tons of radioactive water into the ocean for almost 3 years now, unabated. No one is talking about how to fix it. If it keeps a comin', it's not diluting, it's building up.

Let us work together to recognize the truth and build a solution to fix it. Or wait and panic like hell when the truth comes to your door..

Peace and love to U

Darin Boville

>>“This beach has been known for the last 40 to 50 years to contain these radioactive sands,” he said. “It’s not considered a radiation hazard, so long as you’re not eating it, and you’re not living on it, 24/7.”<

I would guess that Martin's Beach may also have similar radioactive sand. I wonder what the ramifications are for those houses which sit so close to the beach?



Nuclear reactor leaks. Amateur detects increased radiation an ocean away and jumps to conclusion. Local area alarmists react in the best way they know how: useless internet rage. Local government takes notice, and does the right thing despite the fact that it always seems to be the same bumbling fools making a big deal out of nothing. Erring on the side of caution, radiation tests still reveal little, that radiation is as natural as life itself. Local area alarmists dismiss explanation and continues down path of panic and self obsessed ranting.

Conclusion: local area alarmists should be ignored. Even if you solve this problem for them, they'll just create a new one.

Remember, you're usually only a sentence or two away from your friends, neighbors, and family thinking you're a moron. Even on facebook.


That is so Californish...

The radiation at Surfer Beach is “Bio” radium so have no fear, but at Treasure Island there is pandemonium.


You should worry, even more actually, because ionizing radiation at any level is very bad for human health. I think it is caused by the tens of megawatts of pulsed Doppler microwave radiation towers you have all along the California coast, watching Russia and North Korea. Very bad long term for biology according to my data @ darkmattersalot

here ya' go

Whew! What a relief to not have to worry about that pesky radiation poisoning.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories