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Mutant Daisies in Japan Are Not a Good Sign

She’s radioactive … she’s not radioactive … she’s radioactive … she’s not radioactive. When you’re pulling petals from a mutant daisy found in Japan, the answer is pretty obvious. What caused these daisies to grow like this? Is it another legacy of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster?

Photographs of the deformed daisies were posted on Twitter by a user from Nasushiobara, a city in northern Tochigi Prefecture just 110 km (68 miles) from Fukushima. The poster noted the radiation measured near the daisies was “at atmospheric dose is 0.5 μSv/h at 1m above the ground.” According to official radioactivity guides, that level is safe for “medium to long term habitation” by humans. Make that safe for habitation by humans who don’t mind looking at mutant daisies.

What will happen to bees landing on the mutant daisies?

What will happen to bees landing on the mutant daisies?

Officials and skeptics were quick to point out that mutant daisies can also be caused by fasciation – a condition linked to hormonal imbalance, viral infections, genetics, pests and pesticides. That’s comforting … unless you live within an hour’s drive the Fukushima nuclear power plant where an earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of three of six nuclear reactors … a location where contaminated liquids continue to seep into the Pacific Ocean four years later.

The daisies are getting the attention now but this isn’t the first mutation discovered near the Fukushima plant. A year after the disaster, severe abnormalities were seen in butterflies living in the vicinity. What’s worse, the mutations – infertility, deformed wings, abnormal spot patterns, deformed antennas and more – were passed down to subsequent generations.

Butterfly deformities caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Butterfly deformities caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster

In a later study in the Journal of Heredity, author Dr. Timothy Mousseau expanded the list of affected species.

A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster.

In September, the Japanese government will allow over 7,000 residents of Naraha near the Fukushima plant to move back home. While the government doesn’t foresee any problems, one former resident does.

There are no shops. There are no doctors. I don’t know what to do.

There’s always watching deformed butterflies attempt to land on mutant daisies.