Radiation from Japan’s stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has turned up in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also said over the weekend that it had received â€œverbal reportsâ€ of higher levels of radiation in rainwater samples from other states as well, and that such occurrences will continue as <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Radiation-Exposure-Environmental-Contamination-Dumping-Spill-Lawsuit">radioactive material spreads from Japan.
Despite the fact that the levels of iodine-131, a product of nuclear fission, that were detected in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts exceed the maximum contaminant level (MCL) permitted in drinking water, the EPA still maintains it does not pose health risks.
“It is important to note that the corresponding MCL for iodine-131 was calculated based on long-term chronic exposures over the course of a lifetime â€“ 70 years. The levels seen in rainwater are expected to be relatively short in duration,â€ the agency said in a statement released yesterday.
“We continue to expect similar reports from state agencies and others across the nation given the nature and duration of the Japanese nuclear incident,” the statement said.
The EPA also promised it would soon release test results of rainwater samples taken from 18 monitoring stations around the nation, and is stepping up sampling of rainwater, drinking water, and milk.
The EPA also has 140 air monitoring stations set up around the U.S. So far, radiation from Japan has been detected in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, and Nevada. None of the levels detected pose a threat to human health, according to the agency.
Last week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said it had halted the import of produce and dairy products from areas of Japan near the damaged reactors. Just a few days prior, the agency had said it would only be screening Japan produced foods for radiation. The ban will not impact seafood or foods produced in other regions of Japan, though those products will continue to be screened.
Less than 4 percent of the food imported into the U.S. comes from Japan. According to the FDA, the most common Japanese imports include seafood, snack foods and processed fruits and vegetables.
As far as domestically produced milk, the FDA said on Saturday that “theoretical models do not indicate that harmful amounts of radiation will reach the U.S. and, therefore, there is little possibility of domestic milk being contaminated as a result of grass or feed contamination in the U.S. FDA, together with other agencies, is carefully monitoring any possibility for distribution of radiation.â€
Meanwhile, workers in Japan are still trying to contain the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. According to an MSNBC report, they are racing to pump out contaminated water in several buildings at the facility suspected of sending radioactivity levels soaring. The water must be removed and safely stored before work can continue to power up the plant’s regular cooling system. Officials in Japan also warned Monday that radiation seeping from the complex was spreading to seawater and soil.