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State of California Says No Beach Health Risk from Fukushima

The following was issued January 10, 2014, by the California Department of Public Health Radiologic Health Branch and its Office of Public Affairs.
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“There is no public health risk at California beaches due to radioactivity related to events at Fukushima. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not
aware of any recent activity at Fukushima, or any new data that would cause elevated radioactivity on California shores from the Fukushima incident.

Recent tests by the San Mateo County public health department and CDPH show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident.

The volume of water in the Pacific Ocean has a significant diluting effect on radionuclides that are present and it is not anticipated that the concentration will increase in the waters off of the west coast.

CDPH has collected and will be analyzing sand samples from Half Moon Bay. Results of the analysis will be posted on the CDPH Radiologic Health (RHB) website as soon as the analysis is completed.”

Other Information

CDPH also performs routine air and milk samples as required by California law. Slightly elevated air and milk samples were found during the initial phases of the Fukushima incident (March 2011). The results were reported on CDPH RHB’s website (see link above).

CDPH continues to monitor air, milk, kelp, and fish samples. CDPH’s monitoring is part of its ongoing environmental monitoring program. It will publish data on the CDPH RHB website.

CDPH has been in contact with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which monitors the situation with the nuclear reactors in Japan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the private entity Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have monitored fish from the Pacific Ocean. While minute levels of cesium were found in bluefin tuna, most recent tests show even those small levels are declining.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is the coordinating agency for response to international emergencies involving radioactive materials, and the FDA is responsible for food safety. FDA’s hotline number is 888-723-3366. The USEPA, via its RadNet system, monitors the nation’s air, drinking water, precipitation, and pasteurized milk to determine levels of radiation in the environment.

RadNet sample analyses and monitoring results provide baseline data on background levels of radiation in the environment and can detect increased radiation from radiological incidents, such as the Fukushima incident. Visit the USEPA RadNet website at http://www.epa.gov/radnet/ and see the link for public questions. 

Other Useful Links

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) addresses threats to coastal areas. It tracks debris from Japan at:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) provides publicly available reports on leakage and seawater radioactivity near the Fukushima Daiichi
plant. The last report can be found at: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2013/japan-basic-policy6.html

The State of Oregon continues to test drinking water, rainwater, and seawater for radionuclides that could be associated with Fukushima:

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