Radioactive contamination of forest mushrooms
There are many edible mushrooms in our forests. However, in some regions of Bavaria, even 30 years after the Chernobyl reactor accident, some species are heavily contaminated with radioactive cesium-137. This is reported by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), which examines fungi in typical forest locations in southern Germany every year. At each location, the fruiting bodies of a species are combined into a sample and checked in the laboratory.
The mushroom species affected include, for example, trumpet chanterelles and black-headed milklings from the Bavarian Forest and brown slices and orange-colored snails from the Berchtesgadener Land. Not only classic edible mushrooms, but also mixed and seasoned mushrooms are examined. They can still have up to a few 1,000 becquerel (Bq) cesium-137 (Cs-137) per kilogram. A limit of 600 Bq Cs-137 per kilogram applies to wild mushrooms in the trade.
Nationwide, the highest values are to be expected in smaller areas in the Bavarian Forest, in the Donaumoos southwest of Ingolstadt and in the Mittenwald region.
The exposure of wild mushrooms depends on the radiocesium content of the soil layer covered by the mushroom network, but also on the special accumulation capacity of the mushroom type. Due to its half-life of around 30 years, the long-lived radio cesium has only decayed to around 50 percent since the reactor accident in April 1986. The level of wild mushrooms will gradually decrease, even if there are big differences depending on the location.
If the mushrooms are eaten in normal quantities, there are no health risks to fear. However, the consumption of wild mushrooms should generally be limited to 250 grams per week, since they can accumulate toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Heike Kreutz, respectively