Japanese fallout hits the Rockies, health officials say

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"Miniscule levels" of radiation coming from Fukushima have now been detected in Colorado, the state Department of Public Health and Environment said in a release issued today.

It's so miniscule, the release said, that Americans get more radiation during an international flight than from the Fukushima disaster.

To be precise, preliminary sampling from a Colorado monitor has detected a radioactive isotope, iodine-131. To be on the safe side, though, the Colorado sampling data was sent to EPA for further analysis, the release said.

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“Levels detected in Colorado are miniscule and represent no risk to human health,” said Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Radiation can be detected at levels millions of times lower than the level that would cause health impacts. Radiation levels detected in Colorado are consistent with those reported for other states.”

The EPA says Americans in a typical day get doses of radiation from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun that are about 100,000 times higher than what's been detected coming from Japan. For example, the levels we’re seeing coming from Japan are 100,000 times lower than what you get from taking a round-trip international flight.

The Health Department's release goes on to downplay the plume, saying the plume’s radiation has been diluted enormously in its journey of thousands of miles and — at least for now, with concentrations so low — its presence will have no health consequences in the United States.

Dr. Urbina added, “There is no need for people to seek potassium iodide, as there is no risk to public health from the trace amounts of radiation being reported in the United States. Potassium iodide may have side effects. Using potassium iodide when it is unnecessary could cause intestinal upset (vomiting, nausea and diarrhea), rashes, allergic reactions, soreness of teeth and gums, and inflammation of the salivary glands. Pregnant women and the developing fetus are particularly sensitive to the health risks of taking potassium iodide.”

Check out nationwide RadNet reports.

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