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EPA STATEMENT: Update on Ongoing Monitoring

Release Date: 04/04/2011
Contact Information: EPA Press Office, press@epa.gov

WASHINGTON – As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, several EPA air monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the United States consistent with estimated releases from the damaged nuclear reactors. EPA has stepped up monitoring of precipitation, milk, and drinking water in response to the Fukushima events. The detections in air, precipitation, and milk were expected, and the levels detected have been far below levels of public-health concern.

Today, EPA released its latest RadNet results, which include the first results for drinking water. Drinking water samples from two locations, Boise, Idaho and Richland, Washington, showed trace amounts of Iodine-131 – about 0.2 picocuries per liter in each case. An infant would have to drink almost 7,000 liters of this water to receive a radiation dose equivalent to a day’s worth of the natural background radiation exposure we experience continuously from natural sources of radioactivity in our environment.

Earlier precipitation samples collected by EPA have shown trace amounts of radioactivity, so EPA has expected to find results such as these in some drinking water samples. Similar findings are to be expected in the coming weeks.

To see results from these samples, please visit:
http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/docs/rert/RadNet-Drinking-Water-Data-Public-Release-4-2-2011.pdf

In addition, results of EPA’s precipitation sampling and air filter analyses continue to detect very low levels of radioactive material consistent with estimated releases from the damaged nuclear reactors. These detections were expected and the levels detected are far below levels of public-health concern. For the latest sample results please visit:

For the latest air monitoring filter data:
http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/docs/rert/radnet-cart-filter-final.pdf

For the latest milk sampling data:
http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/docs/rert/radnet-milk-final.pdf

For the latest precipitation sampling data:
http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/docs/rert/RadNet-Precipitation-Data-Public-Release-FINAL.pdf