Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk—in Montpelier, Vermont—for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency late Friday.
Milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles contained iodine-131 at levels roughly equal to the maximum contaminant level permitted by EPA, the data shows. The Phoenix sample contained 3.2 picoCuries per liter of iodine-131. The Los Angeles sample contained 2.9. The EPA maximum contaminant level is 3.0, but this is a conservative standard designed to minimize exposure over a lifetime, so EPA does not consider these levels to pose a health threat.
The cesium-137 found in milk in Vermont is the first cesium detected in milk since the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident occurred last month. The sample contained 1.9 picoCuries per liter of cesium-137, which falls under the same 3.0 standard.
Radioactive isotopes accumulate in milk after they spread through the atmosphere, fall to earth in rain or dust, and settle on vegetation, where they are ingested by grazing cattle. Iodine-131 is known to accumulate in the thyroid gland, where it can cause cancer and other thyroid diseases. Cesium-137 accumulates in the body’s soft tissues, where it increases risk of cancer, according to EPA.
Drinking WaterRadioactive Iodine-131 was found in drinking water samples from 13 cities. Those cities are listed below, with the amount of Iodine-131 in picocuries per liter. The EPA’s maximum contaminant level for Iodine-131 in drinking water is 3 picocuries per liter.
- Oak Ridge, TN collected 3/28: 0.63
- Oak Ridge, TN collected at three sites 3/29: 0.28, 0.20, 0.18
- Chatanooga, TN collected 3/28: 1.6
- Helena, MT collected 3/28: 0.18
- Columbia, PA collected 3/29: 0.20
- Cincinatti, OH collected 3/28: 0.13
- Pittsburgh, PA collected 3/28: 0.36
- East Liverpool, OH collected 3/30: 0.42
- Painesville, OH collected 3/29: 0.43
- Denver, CO collected 3/30: 0.17
- Detroit, MI collected 3/31: 0.28
- Trenton, NJ collected 3/31: 0.38
- Waretown, NJ collected 3/31: 0.38
- Muscle Shoals, AL collected 3/31: 0.16
PrecipitationIn the data released Friday, iodine-131 was found in rainwater samples from the following locations:
- Salt Lake City, UT collected 3/17: 8.1
- Boston, MA collected 3/22: 92
- Montgomery, Alabama collected 3/30: 3.7
- Boise, ID collected 3/27: 390
AirIn the most recent data, iodine-131 was found in air filters in the following locations. In the case of air samples, the radiation is measured in picoCuries per cubic meter.
- Montgomery, AL collected 3/31: 0.055
- Nome AK collected 3/30: 0.17
- Nome AK collected 3/29: 0.36
- Nome AK collected 3/27: 0.36
- Nome AK collected 3/26: 0.46
- Nome AK collected 3/25: 0.26
- Juneau AKcollected 3/26: 0.43
- Juneau AK collected 3/27: 0.38
- Juneau AK collected 3/30: 0.28
- Dutch Harbor AK collected 3/30: 0.14
- Dutch Harbor AK collected 3/29: 0.11
- Dutch Harbor AK colleccted 3/26: 0.21
- Boise, ID collected 3/27: 0.22
- Boise, ID collected 3/29: 0.27
- Boise, ID collected 3/28: 0.32
- Las Vegas NV collected 3/28: 0.30
- Las Vegas, NV collected 3/30:: 0.088
- Las Vegas, NV collected 3/29: 0.044
See more at the link.