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More than 32 years after the world’s worst accidental nuclear disaster, milk from cows in the Ukraine is still contaminated by radiation from Chernobyl.

Some of the samples from the villages in the Rivne region, about 200 km from the epicenter of the 1986 nuclear disaster, showed radiation five times the country’s officials safe limit, and 12 times the limit for children, according to the new paper in the journal Environment International.

The new study of the six villages, inhabited by 8,300 people, indicates that radioactive Cesium-137 is still present at high enough levels to cause major health problems, even outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

“More than 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, people are still routinely exposed to radioactive cesium when consuming locally produced staples foods, including milk,” Iryna Labunska, one of the authors from the University of Exeter’s Greenpeace Research Laboratories, said.

The assessments took place at 14 settlements from 2011 to 2016, at private farms and households.

The levels at six of the settlements were above the thresholds (40 Becquerels per liter for children, and 100 Bq/L for adults.)

The highest levels were 500 Bq/L, which is five times the country’s safe levels for adults, and 12 times that for children.

Together, this translates up to an additional 2.6 millisieverts per year for those most impacted.

Ukrainian officials had previously taken some measures to offset potential exposure in cows, including an application of Ferrocyn, which is a cesium binder, to the animals, and mineral fertilization of potato fields, as well as feeding pigs with uncontaminated food. But, those measures were largely discontinued in 2009, according to Labunska.

Without action, the contamination will continue to exceed 100 Bq/L in part of the country at least until the year 2040.

“Though the level of soil contamination in the studied areas is not extremely high, radioactive cesium continues to accumulate in milk and other foods,” Labunska said.

Of course, the health and human toll of the April 26, 1986 nuclear disaster has been well documented.

Fifty people, mostly emergency responders, died outright.

The World Health Organization estimates the overall death toll at 9,000 or more due to increased cancer rates in the region, while the environmental group Greenpeace places it at 90,000.

Some 135,000 people, including all of the adjoining town of Pripyat, were evacuated.

Today, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone encompasses more than 1,000 square miles around the sealed tomb of the melted-down core at reactor four.

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