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Japanese radiation: A danger to the West End?

UPDATE: The University of Washington is providing daily radiation level counts.

The West End is one of the first stops across the wide Pacific for air-borne and now possibly ocean water-borne radiation leaks from the leaking nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan.


Local residents have expressed concerns to the Forks Forum, and are seeking answers to the threat to local resident by the ongoing radiation leaks.

So far, government officials are stating there is trace amounts of the Japanese radiation showing up in Washington state, but are saying the radiation is arriving in tiny amounts, and doesn’t pose a danger to the state’s people.

Gov. Christine Gregoire stated on March 30,  regarding “ongoing radiological monitoring of milk, precipitation and drinking water” that: “Tests performed by the Environmental Protection Agency confirm that Washington milk is safe to drink. A screening sample of milk taken from Spokane on March 25 detected 0.8 pCi/L of iodine-131, which is more than 5,000 times lower than levels that would signal concern. This morning I spoke with the chief advisors for both the EPA and the FDA and they confirmed that these levels are miniscule and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children.”

The state Department of Health is posting readings taken in Tumwater and Seattle each weekday at www.doh.wa.gov/Topics/japan/monitor.htm.

The agency is stating that, “Radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan is not a health risk in Washington.”

The agency states: “The chart shows radiations measures known as ‘gross beta,’ a term that refers to all radioactive materials that emit beta radiation. Gross beta measurements are used because they give us the fastest indication of any change in radiation levels…

“All monitoring stations have continually shown normal background levels of radiation. The annual average measurement at our Tumwater air monitor for 2010 was 25 counts per minute. The levels would have to be at least hundreds of thousands of times higher than these readings before state health officials would recommend protective actions.”

Readers are invited to email to editor@forksforum.com, or drop off at our office, any information specific to the West End in regards to the ongoing threat of radiation escaping across the Pacific to this area.

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