If you read this and this, you'll understand why many of us are a little jittery when we hear that radiation has made its way to several states right here in the U.S.A. We've been told that experts don't "expect" us to have any health issues as a result because the amounts are negligible. Whew! Close call. Relax.
Everything's hunky dory.
As one of our commenters noted under the second post I linked to, Massachusetts Rainwater Radiation Likely From Japan:
On the one hand DNA and RNA do have a capacity to repair themselves. On the other hand we die naturally because enough of our cells cease to function properly enough to sustain life.
So statistically, which is what the "experts" are talking about, the health/death rate/average longevity will not be statistically affected by the levels they are claiming. But that does mean that a certain % of people, animals and plants will likely be affected, just not enough of them to shift the %.
And of course the government and industry are known to lie in order to not get the public all upset.
So yes, Americans have their doubts because they are not able to trust all the information that is being disseminated, and because the language is often so ambiguous.
Progress Energy reported detecting "very low levels" of radioactive Iodine 131 in the air over its Crystal River nuclear plant on Florida's West Coast.
As one of my favorite regular sources for great linkage and commentary, Hugh Kaufman, senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response noted, "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee, eh?"
The spokesman for Progress Energy confirmed that, yes, it was the result of nuclear leaks at the Fukushima plant in Japan, but that it did not pose a health threat. I'm sure they'll "expect" no health threat from these areas, either:
A news release from the utility stated that similar readings were expected at the Harris plant near New Hill, N.C., and the Brunswick plant near Southport, N.C., in the coming days.
I've written about radiation being detected in out west here California. Now we can include Nevada:
Nevada and other Western states also have reported minuscule amounts of radiation, but scientists say those presented no health risks.
Oh good. Again, we are being soothed. It feels great, doesn't it?
“We really don’t think the radiation levels with any scenario will come to public health levels in Washington,” John Erickson, head of emergency preparedness for the state Department of Health, said in an interview Saturday.
On Friday, concentrations of Iodine-131, likely originating from the events at Japan's damaged nuclear plants, were found in rainwater samples collected from Pennsylvania's nuclear power plant facilities. [...]
"We do not expect the levels to increase and, in fact, the levels we see now should go down rather quickly over the next three months,'' [Governor Tom Corbett] said.
That's all very reassuring.
However, nobody expected a 9.0 quake, nobody expected an accompanying tsunami, nobody expects a higher magnitude earthquake than has been predicted near Diablo Canyon and San Onofre...
...and nobody expects accuracy from news reports any more, whether about this, politics, military interventions, or Lindsay Lohan. All we can do is learn from as many sources as we can, evaluate, and judge for ourselves.
So. Here we are. Trusting (or not) the information we're getting about potential health issues, which hasn't always been as reliable as we would like.
As I write this, I am hearing that radiation has now gotten into the ocean food chain, per Paul Gunter from BeyondNuclear.org on the Thom Hartmann radio show. But we probably shouldn't expect any problems from that, either.