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U.S. not in danger from Japanese radiation

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Jesse Evans
Staff Writer

The meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear Reactor in Fukushima, Japan has brought more devastation to a country already recovering from an earthquake and tsunami.

Many feared that the radiation would reach the United States, a small amount of radiation in fact did.

However, the levels of radiation that western states have been exposed to are not as high as Japan and there is no immediate danger.

“The biggest health concern besides physical is the psychological part,” Cynthia Denne, director of student health services, said.

“Our biggest fear is the fear of being exposed.”

Certainly the radiation disaster is a reminder to Americans of the Three Mile Island meltdown on March 28, 1979, near Middletown, Pa.

In this meltdown there were no recorded deaths. Today, this plant has permanently been shut down.

With multiple plants across the country, five in California; the plants need to be ready for a large-scale disaster such as an earthquake.

This is why Japan had a plan for a nuclear meltdown in case it happened.

“Japan had a plan ready in case something like this happened. We have a plan if we are in the same situation,” Denne said.

“Third world countries don’t have a plan.”

A small amount of radiation has been reported in parts of California as well as in milk and other crops, yet the levels are not high enough to have any affect on humans.

All products go through a health inspection and are being checked for any signs of radiation.

Other states that have reported traces of radiation or radioactivity, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency, are Idaho and Minnesota.

“Being from Hawaii, I was worried that it would reach the islands and affect our waters and beaches,” freshman psychology major Raquel Badayos said.

“We actually had a beach watch, in which people we not allowed to go to the beach or in the water for two weeks.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American’s radiation dosage or exposure is measured in Roentgen Equivalent Man.

The most common rem Americans see is calculated in millirem.

The average human is exposed to 300 millirems per year for those living at or close to sea level.

“There are all types of radiation. You get radiation from almost everything nowadays, but the dosage is different,” sophomore biology major Matthew Johnson said.

“Just from directly breathing it you can get thyroid disease.”

If it were a high level of radiation doctors and health experts would recommend a potassium iodine tablet.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the tablet is stable iodine and it is not radioactive.

The pill works by protecting the thyroid gland from any radioactive particles.

Potassium iodine does not guarantee 100 percent protection to the thyroid from radioactive materials.

As of now, the CDC does not recommend that Americans take the potassium iodine or iodine supplements as a response to the Japan nuclear power plant explosion.

One should only take the potassium iodine pill on the advice of emergency management officials or public health officials, or unless suggested by a doctor.

Jesse Evans can be reached at

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