The U.S. government said Wednesday that traces of radiation “far below” levels that pose a risk to humans have been found in milk in California and Washington state.
According to The Environmental Protection Agency, a March 25 sample of milk produced in the Spokane, Washington, area “contained a 0.8 pico curies per literlevel of iodine-131, which it said was less than one five-thousandth, or 5,000 times lower, of the safety guideline set by the U.S. FDA.” Similar findings are likely in the coming days, the agencies said.
Fortunately, iodine-131 decays within 8.02 days, meaning it loses half of its radioactivity within 8 days. Iodine-131 was also found in a March 28 milk sample in California, the state Department of Public Health said.
EPA also said that while the agency isn’t certain that the radiation found in the sampled milk came from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuke Plant, its discovery is “consistent with” what the agency knows has been released so far from the damaged nuclear reactors there.
While the EPA emphasizes the fact that the amounts of radiation detected are “far below levels of public health concern,” advocacy groups such as Public Citizen disagreed.[via Bloomberg] “There continues to be a significant risk of increased radiation releases that could result in detrimental health and safety impacts to American populations,” Tyson Slocum, research director of the energy program at Public Citizen, said in an Bloomberg interview. “The emphasis appears to be on downplaying the risks.”
Of course, like most situations, we won’t be told the truth. But at least, we are finally starting to learn the real dimensions of the magnitude of Japan’s nuclear catastrophe, triggered by the devastating March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.