Categorized | Health

Traces of radiation found in Big Island milk

Information released Wednesday, April 13 by the state Department of Health:

Milk sample shows trace amounts of radiation

Results of EPA laboratory analysis of a milk sample collected April 4, 2011 on the Big Island showed small amounts of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137. The amounts were 18 pCi/L, 24 pCi/L and 19 pCi/L, respectively.

By comparison, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Derived Intervention Levels (DIL) for milk are 4600 pCi/L for I-131 and 33,000 pCi/L for Cs-134 and Cs-137 combined.

These findings were expected and are still far below levels of public health concern.

The milk from the dairy is only distributed on the Big Island. Most of Hawaii’s milk is sourced from a dairy located in California.

The department is continuing to monitor all milk produced at Big Island dairies, as well as milk imported from California.

We do not expect to see any levels of significant health impact and there is no need to take any protective action based on current guidance.

Analysis indicates airborne radiation declining

Recent results of detailed filter analyses from air samples taken in Hawaii showed no detectable levels of radioactive materials. Samples collected April 1-4, 2011 did not contain any detectable quantities.

Previous samples identified trace amounts of radioactive isotopes consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident.

The highest reading for Hawaii (I-131, 1.4 pCi/L) was found in a sample captured by a monitor March 20, 2011. Miniscule amounts of Iodine-131, Tellurium-132, Iodine-132,Cesium-134, Cesium-137 were captured in subsequent days, but have since dropped to undetectable amounts.

Current data from Hawaii RadNet monitors still indicate no risk of harmful radiation exposure. The Department of Health continues to send sampling filters from monitors here to the EPA laboratory in Alabama on a daily basis for further analysis and confirmation of preliminary findings.

Drinking water, precipitation samples submitted to EPA

A drinking water sample collected from Oahu’s municipal supply system was submitted March 28, 2011 to the EPA for analysis. The results of the analysis showed no detectable quantities of radioactive materials.

It takes many years for surface water to reach the water table in Hawaii and we do not expect to see any levels of concern. Several surface water systems on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai have been identified and plans are in place to collect and analyze samples from these systems.

Because of dilution with water already contained within these systems, there is no expected health risk here.

Precipitation samples were collected April 4 and April 8, 2011. They have been submitted to the EPA lab in Alabama and results are pending.

Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater are expected as a result of the Japanese nuclear incident. Several states have shown elevated levels of radiation in recent precipitation events.

Short-term elevations such as these do not raise public health concerns and the department and the EPA have taken steps to increase the level of monitoring to continue to verify that.

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