Medicine: Tea & the Atom

Tokyo's 1,090 trolleys and 2,300 commuter-railroad cars blossomed last week with hastily printed posters headlined "Protection from Radiation" and concluding, "Drink tea and rebuild bright future." In between was an explanation of the connection between these seemingly unrelated items. And between the lines was the unconcealed hope of Japan's tea industry that it could capitalize on fears of nuclear war to build future profits.

The movement got its start last year when portly Dr. Teiji Ugai, 63, president of Shizuoka Pharmaceutical College, was worrying over reports that the tea plant avidly takes up strontium, including radioactive strontium 90 (TIME, Oct. 27) and...