Massachusetts rainwater radiation likely from Japan


I'm told repeatedly that radiation levels of various water supplies around the country are so low that nobody has to worry. At all. Honest. Because everyone keeps telling us that there are only "trace" levels of radiation coming to a state near you. And as they tell us that, others tell us that no level of radiation is safe.

So, we're fine, except when we're not, and the water we drink is risk-free, except when it isn't.

According to this article, there is no health risk:

BOSTON – Health officials said Sunday that one sample of Massachusetts rainwater has registered very low concentrations of radiation, most likely from the Japanese nuclear power plant damaged earlier this month by an earthquake and tsunami.

John Auerbach, the Massachusetts commissioner of public health, said that radioiodine-131 found in the sample — one of more than 100 that have been taken around the country — is short lived. He said the drinking water supply in the state was unaffected and officials do not expect any health concerns.

The word "expect" keeps popping up, and that ambiguity is what makes many of us a little wary. That's because the 9.0 magnitude was also not expected. The combo of a huge quake and a tsunami was not expected. Experts say they don't expect a quake larger than 7.0 near the San Onofre nuclear plant, nor do they expect one bigger than 7.5 near Diablo Canyon, despite the fact that new fault lines are discovered from time to time, not to mention the proximity to the San Andreas Fault.

Meanwhile, I got an email alert, a bunch of tweets, and saw a few reports like this:

(AP) -- A magnitude-6.5 earthquake shook eastern Japan off the quake-ravaged coast on Monday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, prompting Japan to issue a tsunami alert.

Those poor people. This is just endless. But I'm sure the experts "expect" everything to turn out fine.