Colorado detects minuscule levels of radioactivity from Japan
Colorado has joined other states now reporting detection of minuscule levels of radiation coming from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Preliminary sampling from a Colorado monitor has detected a radioactive isotope, iodine-131. The Colorado sampling data is being sent to EPA for further analysis.
“Levels detected in Colorado are minuscule and represent no risk to human health,” said Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“Radiation can be detected at levels millions of times lower than the level that would cause health impacts. Radiation levels detected in Colorado are consistent with those reported for other states.”
“In a typical day, Americans receive doses of radiation from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun that are about 100,000 times higher than what we have detected coming from Japan,” according to a press release issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “For example, the levels we’re seeing coming from Japan are 100,000 times lower than what you get from taking a roundtrip international flight.”
On Sunday, California officials first reported detection of radiation from a state monitor.
As reported nationally by the New York Times and others, the plume’s radiation has been diluted enormously in its journey of thousands of miles and – at least for now, with concentrations so low – its presence will have no health consequences in the United States.
“There is no need for people to seek potassium iodide, as there is no risk to public health from the trace amounts of radiation being reported in the United States,” Urbina said.
Taking the radiation antidote when it’s not needed can cause unpleasant or risky side effects, he noted.
“Using potassium iodide when it is unnecessary could cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, rashes, allergic reactions, soreness of teeth and gums, and inflammation of the salivary glands,” Urbina said. “Pregnant women and the developing fetus are particularly sensitive to the health risks of taking potassium iodide.”
Colorado’s airborne radiation monitor is part of EPA’s RadNet, a national network of monitoring stations that regularly collect samples for analysis of radioactivity. The RadNet network has stations in each state, and has been used to track environmental releases of radioactivity from nuclear weapons tests and nuclear accidents.
Nationwide RadNet reports can be found online at http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-data.html#states .
For information about radiation, call COHELP at 877-462-2911.
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