Washington state monitoring for radiation from Japan, expects no health risk

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OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON (BNO NEWS) — A spokesman for the Washington State Department of Health on Saturday said the agency does not expect a public health risk as a result of the ongoing incidents at a nuclear power plant in quake-hit Japan.

Director of Communications Tim Church said a number of people in the state had voiced their concerns about the nuclear incident in Japan, where small amounts of radiation have been released. He said the agency was closely monitoring the situation as a precaution.


“We heard of people [being] concerned about the radiation incident over there and worried whether their health is at risk here,” Church said. “I think it’s just people concerned because they are watching the news and they are seeing the news coverage and that is scary.”

Church said the Washington State Department of Health is conducting air monitoring as usual and said there have been no elevated readings. “We have equipment that does it electronically and 24 hours a day feeds results. We also have rainwater monitoring that we collect and test a few times a week,” the spokesman said. “We are paying close attention to it, obviously, with what is going on in Japan.”

It is not unusual for the agency to conduct air monitoring for radiation, and Church said they do it all the time. “Most people don’t know that we do that and we wanted them to know it and know that we are on the lookout for anything out of Japan that could impact their health,” he said.

Even in the event of a significant release from the reactor in Japan, the agency said that the radiation would be diluted before reaching the United States and levels would be so low that no protective action would be necessary.

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