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Monday, March 28, 2011

US Detects Low Levels of Radioactivity in Eastern States


The Federal government has established a plan to monitor radiation from the failing Japanese nuclear reactor and initially respond to increased radiation levels. An official health advisory has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) through its Health Alert Network (HAN).

"As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, highly sensitive radiation monitors operated by EPA and others are detecting very low levels of radioactive material in the air in the United States. These levels were expected and consistent with estimated releases from the damaged nuclear reactors and are far below levels of public health concern.
"Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have also been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan, since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that several states including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have detected elevated levels of radiation in rainwater following recent precipitation events."

As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, several EPA monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the United States consistent with estimates from the damaged nuclear reactors. These detections were expected and the levels detected are far below levels of public-health concern.

Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that the states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen elevated levels of radiation in recent precipitation events. EPA is reviewing this data – however, in both cases these are levels above the normal background levels historically reported in these areas.

While short-term elevations such as these do not raise health concerns – and the levels seen in rainwater are expected to be relatively short in duration – the U.S. EPA has taken steps to increase the level of nationwide monitoring of precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes to continue to verify that. EPA’s only recommendation to state and local governments is to continue to coordinate closely with EPA, CDC and FDA – EPA will continue to communicate our nationwide sampling results as they come in.

In addition to air quality issues, the Federal government is monitoring food safety, and ships and cargo from Japan. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a recommendation at this time not to take potassium Iodine (KI) supplements in response to the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan unless advised by your physician, emergency management officials, or public health officials.