In the sober light of day, and with a little googling under my belt, I need to correct some of my Halloween scary remarks from yesterday's post.
First off, the Cesium I refered to was really the radioactive isotope Cesium 137. And my half life estimate was a wee bit off...like, 220,000 years. According to various nuclear websites, Cesium 137, the most widespread radioactive element following the Chernobyl accident, has a half-life of 30 years. This means, barring further nuclear "incidents", our great grandchildren should be able to eat wild mushrooms without fear of glowing in the dark. For references sake, uranium has a half-life in the billions of years. And this is why I'm not a chemist.
The observed mutation part was and is real (one of the links described the leaves of trees in Belarus changing shape!), but the threat is blessedly finite. Thirty years will pretty much use up my life-time, though, so caution (and even some local background radiation research) is still advised.
As to sheep dietary habits, all I know is that a sheep pasture gets grazed down to the ground, and it is likely that yummy fungi like puffballs and agaricus would be devoured as well. They don't call sheep meadow maggots for nuthin'!
It is both informative and entertaining. Who knew Cesium was so... hot?
and here is the EPA website on the health effects of Cesium 137 exposure: www.epa.gov/radiation/ radionuclides/cesium.htm