Japan Radiation Spreads Throughout U.S. West Coast

Radiation from Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant is being reported in several West Coast states. From CNN’s Elizabeth Landau this morning:

Colorado and Oregon have joined several other Western states in reporting trace amounts of radioactive particles that have likely drifted about 5,000 miles from a quake and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant in Japan, officials say…

Sampling from a monitor in Colorado — part of a national network of stations on the lookout for radioactivity — detected miniscule amounts of iodine-131, a radioactive form of iodine, the state’s public health and environmental department said Wednesday in a press release.

On the same day in Portland, Oregon, tiny quantities of iodine-131 were also detected by an Environmental Protection Agency air monitor, Oregon public health officials said.

Small amounts of radioactive material were detected Wednesday, too, in Hawaii — just as they had a day earlier, according to the EPA. But while they were above the historical and background norm, the levels weren’t considered harmful to human health.

Washington and California previously reported low levels of radioactive isotopes that likely came from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which has been releasing radioactive particles into the air since its cooling and other systems were damaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11. Efforts continued Thursday to cool down the spent nuclear fuel rods, prevent a further meltdown of the plant’s six reactor cores and curb the release of additional radioactive material.

Federal authorities insist that Americans need not be concerned about the levels of radiation reaching the United States. From the article:

But, on a portion of its website dedicated to tracking such radiation, the Environmental Protection Agency noted Wednesday that these and other readings “show typical fluctuation in background radiation levels” and — thus far — “are far below levels of concern.”

Landau added:

Americans typically get exposure to radiation from natural sources such as the sun, bricks and rocks that are about 100,000 times higher than what has been detected in the United States.

There is no need for anyone as a precautionary measure to take potassium iodide, a medication that can counter the harmful effects of iodine-131, health officials say.


Landau, Elizabeth. “More U.S. states find traces of radiation from Japan.” CNN.com. 24 Mar. 2011. (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/03/23/colorado.oregon.radiation/). 24 Mar. 2011.


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Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Asia, Government, Health, Public Safety

2 Comments to Japan Radiation Spreads Throughout U.S. West Coast

  1. “Federal authorities insist that Americans need not be concerned about the levels of radiation reaching the United States.”
    And you trust the Federal Authorities?

    Let’s keep in mind that ever since this nuclear ‘incident’ began, nuclear agency & business representatives have been lobbying the members of Congress nonstop.

    Those who make money off of nuclear energy are working hard to influence these same Federal Authorities who are telling us that we have nothing to worry about.


  2. Mammoth on March 24th, 2011
  3. Who said anything about trusting the Feds 🙂

  4. Editor on March 25th, 2011

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