Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BIG Plans!

~ Happy Holidays ~ 
I have a lot of BIG plans for Elegance Beyond.
Right now, I am making a list of what will be coming soon to Elegance Beyond.
Like I said before, I am NEW to this and I am still in the planning stages of my company. 
I will start after the holiday season. I am very excited about ALL of it.  
I am VERY EXCITED about starting this NEW venture!!! 
I will keep you ALL informed on what's to come. 
Thank you ALL for your patience and your "Likes". 
I really appreciate them ALL. 
I hope that each and every one of you have an amazing holiday season. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

7 Facts Weighing Down America


It is old news that the United States has an obesity problem—but with 2/3rds of the nation rounding out as either overweight or obese, it is an issue that needs to be addressed. With billions spent every year on junk food, billions are also being spent on reversing the effects of the junk food, making America’s obesity cycle one huge (no pun intended) problem.


Two thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, but over 1/3 are obese – according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This Fat Map shows where most of that 2/3 resides.


Alabama (70.0%)
Mississippi (68.8%)
West Virginia (67.9%)
Tennessee (67.8%)
Kentucky (67.5%)
“Americans need to understand that overweight&obesity are literally killing us”
—Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Department of Health and Human Services


As America’s waistlines expand, American industries adapt. From larger dress sizes and movie theater seats to plus size toilet seats and coffins, every day items are now available in a super-size.


A size 4 dress size today would be considered a size 8 twenty years ago. No, you haven’t lost weight. Theater seats have increased 6” over the last twenty years. Extra butter anyone? The average hamburger has more than doubled in size in twenty years. Now that’s a super-size.


Over 50% of Americans see themselves as being overweight. In case you are not sure if you are overweight or not, this BMI chart will help you figure it out—just use your height and weight to see where you fall.


Before we judge smokers too harshly for how much they spend on a pack of cigarettes every day, let’s look a little closer at the junk food industry. Americans spent $3.9 billion on cookies in 2010, $6.2 billion on potato chips and a mean $37 billion on cola products—making waistlines bigger, and wallets smaller.


We could just change our lifestyle, but most Americans don’t seem to consider that a solution. America is all about the quick fix, spending billions of dollars a year on procedures that attempt to reverse the effects of obesity.


One thing is certain—with obesity on the rise, the only thing that is here to stay is fat, fat and more fat. With expensive reversal procedures that few can afford, obesity is quickly becoming society’s number one killer. If things don’t change, only two things are certain in this life—death by fat, and taxes.
We have to get it together! 

Friday, November 4, 2011


Greetings {Elegance Beyond} Family.
I have decided to up the "Likes" on the Giveaway from 500 to 1000. 
All of the details are still the same. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking 
about, here are the details...
When 1000 "Likes" are reached, ONE of my "lucky likers" will receive a FREE
Luxury Basket. Spread the word. The contents of this Luxury Basket will not be 
listed until the morning of the Giveaway, and the WINNER will be announced later that evening. 
To join the Giveaway, just "Like" my page ( You will
automatically be entered into the drawing upon liking my page. 
Good Luck. 
Like I said before everything is the same except the "Likes" are more. 
Have a wonderful afternoon. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Update

I just wanted to thank all of you that have been Liking my Fan Page. Every time you like my page,
you are entered into the Contest. It's that simple. Nothing else is required. When 500 Likes are reached, 
ONE of my special "Likers" will receive a Luxury Basket. If you have friends, pass on this information. 
Thank you ALL. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

{Elegance Beyond} GIVEAWAY!

No Purchase Necessary for the FREE giveaway at {Elegance Beyond}.
When 500 "Likes" are reached, ONE of my "Lucky Like'rs" will receive a FREE
Luxury Basket. So, spread the word. 
To join the giveaway, just "Like" my page. 
You will be automatically entered into the drawing upon liking my page.
Good Luck. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming Soon...

Happy Day Everybody.
Coming soon to {Elegance Beyond}, 
are Gourmet Soy Candles. 
Stay tuned. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NEW Product

Hello {Elegance Beyond} Family. 
I am so excited to say that I have a  NEW product in the works at {Elegance Beyond}.
I am very excited about it and I will let you all know when it's ready. I will not 
let you see it until it's finished. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up and don't follow through.
That's just wrong to me. So when I post the picture of the product or ANY product,
then you will know that it's ready. So I just wanted you all to know what was
going on at the {Elegance Beyond} Studio. 
Have a great weekend. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Out of the loop.

Hello everyone.
Sorry about me having not had a recent post lately. I have been really busy with me family. 
As you know, from a recent post, I stated in that post that I would be starting 
small with my business and then from there, I will GROW. So now, I have decided to go ahead and start. 
I have just been super, super busy with my family. I just wanted you all to know what was
going on and not think that I was done with blogging. =) 
I am just taking care of my family and family comes first over EVERYTHING! 
As I start to produce my Luxurious Goodies, I will post them for you to see. 
I am just busy at the moment. I hope that you all have a wonderful and relaxing Saturday. 
~Bathe! Relax and Enjoy!~

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

{Elegance Beyond}

~I am SUPER happy! I have been working on several new ideas for my company. 
I am just SUPER excited! Everything that I am doing right now TOP SECRET, but it is worth
the wait! I never knew that I could feel so passionate about something so deeply, other than
my children and my husband. Its really blowing my mind how I feel about my company.
This is an amazing feeling that I have, and been having for a long time. Its AMAZING! 
Becoming a business owner is EXTRAORDINARY to me!
The way it makes me feel, can't possibly be described by words. Being able to do
what you want to do and run things the way you want them to be ran, is AWESOME. 
I am SUPER happy! I am SUPER happy! I am SUPER happy!~

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mailing List! (The New Mailing List)

My Mailing List will consist of  your Name, Address, Email Address, Phone Number,
Country, and Birthday Month. You will also receive News Letters, Thank You's, Holiday Cards, Sale News,
etc. Also FREE samples from time to time. To be able to receive ANY of this information is to subscribe 
to be added to the Mailing List. You can subscribe by emailing your information to Your information will not be sold or distributed out
in any kind of way. You can ALWAYS be taken off of the Mailing List. Just send an email
saying that you no longer want to be on the Mailing List. The subject for the emails
should DEFINITELY state, Subscribe to Mailing List or Unsubscribe to Mailing List.
If you have any questions, just shoot me an email at 
and I will get back to you soon. Thank you. 
~Bathe! Relax and Enjoy!~

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4TH of July!

~ Have a happy day today everyone! 
Enjoy yourself and your family. Enjoy everything that happens today
while you are with your families. Happy Birthday America! 
Home of the Brave! Enjoy your day everyone! 
Enjoy your day! ~ 

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Fan Page

I would like to say that I have Fan Page now! I am so happy and excited about it. 
It's Elegance Beyond
I am very excited! Its coming together slowly but surely. I am just doing the written part 
right now. I am not making anything right now because like I said before, I am moving. 
Just in case some of you are new. =) I LOVE having NEW people comment
on what I say about my business and just comment on what they think of 
my business too. I am just THRILLED! I am taking one day at a time. 
But I am VERY HAPPY! I just wanted to share that with you.
Thank you all again for being there and supporting me through this. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New things for {Elegance Beyond}

So, I have been doing some NEW things for {Elegance Beyond}
and I have decided to start out small and then work my way up!!! I have TONS and TONS 
of products that I will be making in the near future. Like I said before, I am going to start
out small and then work my way up. I am SUPER EXCITED about the NEW things that
I have coming to {Elegance Beyond}. I am not just going to jump right into it because 
I am not going to be running around with my head cut off, that will be bad. LOL. 
But I am really ready for this to happen. I have so many products in the making, I just can't
wait to get things started. But I can only start with baby steps. =) 
Good things will be coming to {Elegance Beyond} soon. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


"If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being,
let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
-William Penn

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am Moving!

~Hello everyone. =)~
I wanted to tell you all that I am moving. I will not be creating any products until I am at 
my new location. I am hoping for mid to late June or mid July at the latest. I am very excited
about this. I have been waiting for this move for a long time and now its finally here. =)
SUPER EXCITED. We are all excited (my family). I just can't wait to get up in 
that airplane. But I am still creating recipes on a daily basis and writing 
new ideas down everyday. Every product that I complete will have a picture and the description
on how to use it. I will post pictures of my products so that you can see what's to come. 
Everything will be posted. I ams till working on my website. Every product that I add to my website will be 
posted on my blog as well. I am keeping myself busy by creating recipes daily, working on my 
website, tending to my family, etc. Did I tell you that I was EXCITED about moving?
Hahahahahahahahaha. I really am! I have BIG plans once I get started again. I will have more room
so I will be able to do more. WHOOHOO!!! =) 
A lot more for that matter. I am SUPER EXCITED. I'm not going to spoil the fun.
So you will see what I will be making first when that time comes. And I will not be giving out 
any hints! What's the fun in that? Have a wonderful day everyone. =)

Monday, March 21, 2011

20 Business Ideas for Moms!

Looking for a new way to make money? Here are 20 businesses that you can start with very little money. You need motivation, a willingness to work hard and a desire to be financially successful.

1. College Application/Financial Aid Planning Consulting Business
A financial aid planner helps parents get the lowest possible price for their child's college education, thus saving them money. Tapping into financial aid resources is not just about being smart. It is about being aware of the resources that are available. This business involves advising parents and high school students on selecting a college, filling out the application and financial aid forms, providing tips for writing the college essay, advising parents about tax implications on college savings plans, and negotiating the best possible financial aid package when a college offer is received. A sound knowledge about higher education institutions and a thorough understanding of financial aid options are important. Market your services in high schools, libraries, private tutorial centers and universities.
Tip: Have a good understanding of different financial programs like Byrd Scholarships, Stafford Loans, private and federal grants, and PLUS Loans. Also be current with college savings plans including 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Uniform Gift to Minors Act, and Charitable Remainder Unitrusts.
2. Consignment Shop
Talking about wearing "pre-owned" clothing has never been a popular coffee table discussion. Times may be changing, though. Recycled clothes are back. The recession has led consumers to save their bucks by buying "gently used" items.
As a consignment shop owner, you don't pay anything for your inventory until it is sold, which makes this business ideal for the startup entrepreneur. Take clean, well-cared-for items and display and merchandise them for the owners, splitting the profits when you make a sale. Many times, the profit split is either 50/50 or 60/40, with the higher percentage going to the consignment shops.
Tip: The key to a successful consignment shop is a pleasant atmosphere. Make it clean, fresh and fashionable.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writers can write articles on any topic, from horse training to buying an RV. A good way to start is by writing about subjects in which you are already an expert. The Writer's Market lists guidelines for thousands of publications.
Ghost writing is a good pursuit for freelancers looking for money and willing to forgo a byline. Websites are always on the lookout for quality freelancers, too. Create a website to promote your freelance writing business.
Tip: Your initial queries are likely to get rejected many times. Cultivate a stoic resilience to rejection.
4. Gardening Business
Herb farms are one of the fastest-growing industries. Medicinal herbs, herbal teas, culinary herbs, and herbs for candles and aromatherapy are just the tip of the iceberg. A solid working knowledge of growing herbs is essential.
Flowers used to scent potpourri, soap, candles and fragrant concoctions require just a few square feet of growing space. Most of your product preparation can easily take place in an average-size kitchen equipped with no more than a shelf, stove and counter work space.
Becoming a gardening teacher is a creative way to make money from your green thumb. Offer gardening seminars in your backyard, community colleges, recreation centers and local nurseries. Offer a class each month on a different aspect of gardening, including planning flower beds, learning about perennials, preparing the soil, creating an English garden, bulb planting, and the like.
Growing orchids can be a lucrative business if you are willing to spend time and considerable effort. Although they are typically grown in tropical areas, orchids can also be grown as houseplants or in greenhouses.
Tip: Through gardening, you can branch off to floral arrangements and market your products to local inns, hotels, wedding planners, churches, roadside flower sales and florists.
5. Gift Basket Making Business
From corporate parties to baby showers, holidays and birthdays, gift baskets can be tailored to suit the taste of anyone. Gift basket entrepreneurs need a flair for the creative and the design ability to buy gifts and tuck them into baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags. Attractive packaging is an important part of the gift basket business. You can't just throw some objects together and stick on a bow.
Market your gift baskets by taking photos of them. Prepare a brochure listing the contents of each basket and its price. You can sell your baskets online, to corporate offices, through mail order and in local shops.
Tip: There is a large, untapped market for merchandise with university and sports team logos on them. You will first need to get approval from the university's licensing department to make gift baskets that have merchandise with their logo.
6. Graphic Design
Duties of a graphic designer include designing flyers, informational pamphlets, product catalogs and advertisements. Graphic designers also consult with printers or publishers to identify the best choice of paper, cover stocks and printing processes for any given assignment.
Market your services to ad agencies, publishing companies, small magazines, corporations, product manufacturers and individual entrepreneurs.
Tip: Good listening skills are essential to running a successful graphic designing business. You need to understand completely what your clients want.
7. Grant Writing Business
The grant writer is the vital link between a funder and a grant seeker. Grant writers work as independent contractors, full- or part-time development officers, and freelancers. Nonprofit organizations account for the largest percentage of grant seekers.
Grant writers can apply for a myriad of categories of funding, including project grants, general operating grants, endowment grants, restricted grants, startup funding, matching grants, and challenge grants. Some websites that will help you start researching funders are
Tip: This is a field that you can learn on your own and offer your services for a handsome fee. Very few nonprofits require certification from their grant writers.
8. Home Health-Care Agency
An 80-year-old wants to live in his own home but has trouble bathing, fixing meals and cleaning the house. As a home health-care business, your responsibility is to send an employee to assist with the daily tasks of living.
Home health care is a rapidly growing business with today's skyrocketing costs of assisted living facilities and live-in nurses. Find out the legal requirements to run a home health-care agency in your area. Always be up to date on the laws for administering any kind of medication. Advertise your services at local community centers, rehabilitation centers, doctors' offices and hospitals.
Tip: You need top-notch people skills and an instinct for determining which caregiver to pair with which client. Most importantly, you must have a knack for hiring employees with monumental patience.
9. House Cleaning
As long as dirt and grime exist, there will be a need for house-cleaning services. In many homes and apartments, people want to enjoy the luxury of not having to scrub floors and dust furniture.
Tip: With each new client, find out exactly what they need and expect from you. Catering to the wishes of your clients is as important as a good cleaning job and will earn you loyal and returning customers.
10. Medical Billing Business
Medicalbilling is the process by which doctors and hospitals receive payment from health insurance companies. It also involves resolving any disputes and following up on claims that have been delayed or rejected. Medical billing services provide coding, invoicing and collection services to different types of health-care facilities. Individuals can get certified by enrolling in schools that have medicalbilling programs, or via online courses.
Tip: Working in a doctor's office can be helpful in understanding how patients are billed.
11. Mobile Spa Business
Bring the spa experience to your clients via a mobile day spa. Mobile spa treatments can be offered in homes, offices or hotels. A mobile spa offers facials, massages, bridal hair and makeup, body treatments, manicures and pedicures. Mobile spas have low startup costs. There are no ongoing costs like those involved in operating a storefront operation such as rent, utilities, maintenance and insurance. Massage therapists, manicurists and hairdressers can run a successful mobile spa business.
Market your business to clients who are working from home and do not have time to go to a spa, older folks who cannot leave their homes, working professionals who want a break during a high-stress period, and clients who are not physically able to get themselves out of the house due to illness.
Tip: Carry a mobile retail shop with skin-care products and accessories such as herbal neck wraps, spa slippers and ointments for your clients.
12. Medical Spa
Check with the medical board in your state to determine its position on medical spa treatments. Opening a medical spa can be a sensitive issue in certain areas of the industry because there is controversy in the field. Next, determine which type of medical spa you want to start. Popular medical spa treatments include Botox, laser hair removal and anti-aging skin-care services.
Tip: Always have an attorney review documents before signing any contracts.
13. Music for Kids
Music is an important part of early childhood development. Market your musical skills at day cares, kindergartens and preschools. Call day-care directors, school principals and teachers. Sometimes you may have to schedule a free first performance to get paid for ensuing performances. They like to see how the kids interact with your music before scheduling you on a regular basis.
Tip: Make your performance interactive and not a mere display. Get the kids involved.
14. Paper Shredding and Recycling Business
Many businesses--such as banks, financial institutions and medical facilities--are required by law to protect the confidentiality and security of patrons. Many businesses have an overload of documents that, for security reasons, cannot be thrown in the trash. Hiring a papershredding service is an investment for them. A mobile document shredding service goes to its clients and shreds their documents on-site, then removes the shredded paper and takes it to a recycling center.
Tip: Aside from shredding paper documents, a papershredding service can offer the ability to destroy hard drives as well, along with other media such as CDs and DVDs.
15. Personal Chef
There's nothing like satisfying a hungry stomach with a hearty meal andgetting paid for it. Personal chefs can market their business to just about anybody who likes to eat well and is willing to pay for it.
In addition to cooking skills, personal chefs also need a working knowledge of nutrition and excellent organizational skills. A sound understanding of safe food handling practices, health regulations and product liability laws are also essential.
Tip: Be ready to adapt to working in different kitchens. Some clients will have good, workable pots and pans and utensils; others won't. Investing in a travel set of cooking utensils and pots and pans may be a wise idea.
16. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business
This is a great job for animal lovers who enjoy getting paid for caring for and playing with other people's pets. Dogs and cats are the most common pets that need care when owners are away, but you will occasionally be asked to take care of rabbits, hamsters, birds and tropical fish.
Dog walking can bring in good cash, especially if you market your services in retirement communities, where many residents may lack the energy and motivation to take their pets for their daily walks.
Tip: If you are an animal lover, a mobile dog and cat grooming business can bring consistent income.
17. Sewing Business
Custom curtain making is a profitable business if you have an interest in interior design. You can specialize in designing, sewing and installing window treatments. By providing multiple services, you can charge a great deal more than if you just stitch together basic curtains for customers.
If you enjoy embroidery and hand sewing, a quilt designing business is for you. Monogrammed baby quilts are particularly popular since they make wonderful gifts.
Doll dress designing is trendy. Ask as many little girls as you can what kinds of doll clothes they like. If you are not in touch with what the kids like, your clothes won't sell. Offering such accessories as doll hair ribbons, hats, socks, tights and slippers can be good for your business.
Tip: Making custom bridal veils is a great way to make money using your sewing skills. It is also a good way to enter the lucrative bridal market. Provide a distinctive service by crafting one-of-a-kind veils and headpieces. The ability to choose a headpiece that is most flattering to a particular bride's facial structure is important. You can branch out by making First Communion veils.
18. Soap Making
A bar of soap may cost 10 cents to make and can be sold from $1 to $4, and there is a growing market of green buyers in this market. Many people are going back to basics and buying all-natural soaps. By adding special herbs, fragrances and colors, you can make gourmet and specialty soaps right in your own kitchen.
Tip: Packaging is everything.
19. Website Consultant
Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants a website these days, but they don't know how to do it themselves. If you are running any kind of business today, a website is just as important as naming your business.
From hosting domain names to managing web content, a website consultant builds and maintains websites. Having an understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a plus. As a website consultant, you will need experience in links, banners and affiliate programs, and a talent for graphics and copywriting.
Tip: Branch off your business into website maintenance, where you charge a monthly fee to make small changes and additions to a client's website.
20. Wedding Planner or Bridal Consultant
Couples are marrying later than ever, after having spent years as working singles, getting advanced degrees or living together. They have the funds to splurge on lavish weddings. This means great earning potential for wedding planners. You will need a working knowledge of what goes into planning a wedding, including resources and price ranges for everything from invitations to musicians.
Tip: This is a business where you have to be extremely organized and detail-oriented. Forgetting to put down the deposit for the ballroom or to order the yellow roses can be disastrous.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Find the best job for Your Personality!

Get matched with careers that fit your personality.

By Tony Moton

Character traits can go a long way in determining how successful and satisfied you'll be on the job.
Just ask career experts Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin.
"Your personality type affects your satisfaction with the job, your productivity in it, and the likelihood that you will persist in this type of work," write Farr and Shatkin in their book "Best Jobs for Your Personality".
This connection between personality and jobs became the focus of researcher John L. Holland's studies in the 1950s, when he developed six personality types as they related to occupations:
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Keep reading to find your personality type. Then see which careers are a good fit for you.

Personality Type #1: Realistic

If you like hands-on work, then you likely fit into the realistic personality type. "Doers," as they are also known, generally enjoy projects that require tools or machines. Realistic personality types are employed by the largest number of occupations, according to authors Farr and Shatkin.
Smart career options for realistic personality types include chefs and head cooks ($44,240, average annual salary) and computer hardware engineers ($101,410).
Careers for realistic personalities can also be found in the health care industry, including pharmacy technicians and physical therapist assistants ($48,590).

Personality Type #2: Investigative

Do you love to analyze and solve complex problems? Do you consider yourself naturally curious? Are fact-finding missions your idea of a great time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are good that you fall into the investigative personality category.
Jobs that require workers to exercise their mental muscles - like actuaries ($97,450) and personal financial advisors ($94,180) - are best suited for investigative personality types. To qualify for these types of jobs, consider earning a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance.
Most investigative occupations require looking for clues and facts in order to get the job done, makingparalegals ($50,080), who assist lawyers in research and investigation, another great career option. To prepare for this job, earn a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies.

Personality Type #3: Artistic

As an artistic type, you find passion in creative expression. You're big on self-expression and thinking outside the proverbial box. When it comes to following rules, you're at your best when working independently or in situations others find too disorganized.
Occupations for artistic types involve working with forms, designs, and patterns. Career options for artistic personalities include graphic and web designers ($47,820) and animators ($62,810).
In today's high-tech job market, workers with an "artsy" side are finding themselves in demand. To train for jobs in this field, look into degree programs in graphic design, web design, or animation.

Personality Type #4: Social

The gift of gab can pay wonderful dividends if you consider yourself a social personality type. Working with tools and instruments isn't your best fit. Social personalities prefer work situations where they can help others learn and develop.
Good fit jobs for social personalities generally revolve around caregiving and helping others. Registered nurses ($66,530) and mental health counselors ($41,710) are just a few examples. Look into nursing and health care schools to get the right training.
Another career option for social personalities is high school teacher ($55,150). To get into this profession, you'll need to earn a degree in the subject you want to teach and complete a teacher prep program.

Personality Type #5: Enterprising

Are you a self-starter with a knack for seeing projects through from beginning to end? You may just fall into the enterprising personality type. You're most interested in persuading others to help your visions become reality. Rather than thinking about getting something done, you go right ahead and act on your impulses.
Enterprising occupations are found in competitive work environments where strong leadership is needed. If that type of environment sounds right for you, consider becoming a financial manager ($113,730).
Jobs that require selling or influencing opinion - like marketing manager ($120,070) or public relations specialist ($59,370) - are also good options. To get into this line of work, earn a bachelor's degree in marketing/communications.

Personality Type #6: Conventional

A conventional personality type prefers to follow the guidelines and rules of tasks at hand. You do things "by the book," which means you are prone to getting the details just right. When exacting standards must be met, you are reliable and have the ability to organize and keep matters in an orderly fashion. Chaos, most likely, is the bane of your existence.
Two of the best careers for conventional personality types are accountant ($67,430) and bookkeeping clerk ($34,750). To train for these jobs and put your conventional skill set to good use, look into accounting degree programs.
Other careers for conventional personalities include pharmacy technicians ($28,940) and dental assistants ($34,000).
*Average annual salaries as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Radiation level soars after Japan nuke plant fire!

By ERIC TALMADGE and SHINO YUASA, Associated Press – 2 mins ago

SOMA, Japan – Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.
In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima state, one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world's third-largest economy.
Though Kan and other officials urged calm, Tuesday's developments fueled a growing panic in Japan and around the world amid widespread uncertainty over what would happen next.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that Japanese officials told it that the reactor fire was in the storage pond — a pool where used nuclear fuel is kept cool — and that "radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere."
In the worst case scenario, the reactor's core would completely melt down, a disaster that could spew large amounts of radioactity into the atmosphere.
Officials just south of Fukushima reported up to 100 times the normal levels of radiation Tuesday morning, Kyodo News agency reported. While those figures are worrying if there is prolonged exposure, they are far from fatal.
Tokyo reported slightly elevated radiation levels, but officials said the increase was too small to threaten the 39 million people in and around the capital, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) away. Closer to the stricken nuclear complex, the streets in the coastal city of Soma were empty as the few residents who remained there heeded the government's warning to stay indoors.
Kan and other officials warned there is danger of more leaks and told people living within 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex to stay indoors to avoid exposure that could make people sick.
"Please do not go outside. Please stay indoors. Please close windows and make your homes airtight," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told residents in the danger zone.
"These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that," he said.
Weather forecasts for Fukushima were for snow and wind from the northeast Tuesday evening, blowing southwest toward Tokyo, then shifting and blowing west out to sea. That's important because it shows which direction a possible nuclear cloud might blow.
The nuclear crisis is the worst Japan has faced since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. It is also the first time that such a grave nuclear threat has been raised in the world since a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine exploded in 1986.
Some 70,000 people had already been evacuated from a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius from the Dai-ichi complex. About 140,000 remain in the new warning zone.
Workers were desperately trying to stabilize three reactors at the power plant that exploded in the wake of Friday's quake and tsunami, after losing their ability to cool down and releasing some radiation. Since the quake, engineers have been injecting seawater into the reactors as a last-ditch coolant.
A fourth reactor that had been shut down before the quake caught fire Tuesday and more radiation was released, Edano said.
The fire was put out. Even though the fourth reactor was shut down, the fire there was believed to be the source of the elevated radiation.
"It is likely that the level of radiation increased sharply due to a fire at Unit 4," Edano said. "Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health. These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening. Far away, the levels should be lower."
He said another reactor whose containment building exploded Monday had not contributed greatly to the increased radiation. Edano said that reactor, and another, Unit 3, had stabilized but the status of Unit 2 was unclear.
Temperatures in two other reactors, units 5 and 6, were slightly elevated, Edano said.
"The power for cooling is not working well and the temperature is gradually rising, so it is necessary to control it," he said.
Officials said 50 workers, all of them wearing protective radiation gear, were still trying to pump water into the reactors to cool them. They say 800 other staff were evacuated. The fires and explosions at the reactors have injured 15 workers and military personnel and exposed up to 190 people to elevated radiation.
In Tokyo, slightly higher-than-normal radiation levels were detected Tuesday but officials insisted there are no health dangers.
"The amount is extremely small, and it does not raise health concerns. It will not affect us," Takayuki Fujiki, a Tokyo government official said.
Kyodo reported that radiation levels nine times higher than normal were briefly detected in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo and that the Tokyo metropolitan government said it had detected a small amount of radioactive materials in the air.
Edano said the radiation readings had fallen significantly by the evening.
Japanese government officials are being rightly cautious, said Donald Olander, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at University of California at Berkeley. He believed even the heavily elevated levels of radiation around Dai-ichi are "not a health hazard." But without knowing specific dose levels, he said it was hard to make judgments.
"Right now it's worse than Three Mile Island," Olander said. But it's nowhere near the levels released during Chernobyl.
On Three Mile Island, the radiation leak was held inside the containment shell — thick concrete armor around the reactor. The Chernobyl reactor had no shell and was also operational when the disaster struck. The Japanese reactors automatically shut down when the quake hit and are encased in containment shells.
Olander said encasing the reactors in a concrete sarcophagus — the last-ditch effort done in Chernobyl — is far too premature. Operators need to wait until they cool more, or risk making the situation even worse.
The death toll from last week's earthquake and tsunami jumped Tuesday as police confirmed the number killed had topped 2,700, though that grim news was overshadowed by a deepening nuclear crisis. Officials have said previously that at least 10,000 people may have died in Miyagi province alone.
Millions of people spent a fourth night with little food, water or heating in near-freezing temperatures as they dealt with the loss of homes and loved ones. Asia's richest country hasn't seen such hardship since World War II.
With snow and freezing temperatures forecast for the next several days, shelters were gathering firewood to burn for heat, stacking it under tarps and tables.
Though Japanese officials have refused to speculate on the death toll, Indonesian geologist Hery Harjono, who dealt with the 2004 Asian tsunami, said it would be "a miracle really if it turns out to be less than 10,000" dead.
The 2004 tsunami killed 230,000 people — of which only 184,000 bodies were found.
The impact of the earthquake and tsunami dragged down stock markets. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average plunged for a second day Tuesday, nose-diving more than 10 percent to close at 8,605.15 while the broader Topix lost more than 8 percent.
To lessen the damage, Japan's central bank made two cash injections totaling 8 trillion yen ($98 billion) Tuesday into the money markets after pumping in $184 billion on Monday.
Initial estimates put repair costs in the tens of billions of dollars, costs that would likely add to a massive public debt that, at 200 percent of gross domestic product, is the biggest among industrialized nations.
Yuta Tadano, a 20-year-old pump technician at the Fukushima plant, said he was in the complex when quake hit.
"It was terrible. The desks were thrown around and the tables too. The walls started to crumble around us and there was dust everywhere. The roof began to collapse.
"We got outside and confirmed everyone was safe . Then we got out of there. We had no time to be tested for radioactive exposure. I still haven't been tested," Tadano told The Associated Press at an evacuation center.
"I worry a lot about fallout. If we could see it we could escape, but we can't," said Tadano, cradling his 4-month-old baby, Shoma.
The Dai-ichi plant is the most severely affected of three nuclear complexes that were declared emergencies after suffering damage in Friday's quake and tsunami, raising questions about the safety of such plants in coastal areas near fault lines and adding to global jitters over the industry.
Yuasa reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed to this report.