NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The crisis in Japan has triggered local concerns over radiation as trace amounts of radioactive iodine were being detected in air and water in New York State.
Above-normal readings were a direct result of contaminated steam from the Fukushima nuclear plant, but New York’s Department of Health insisted there was no cause for alarm.
Health experts, monitoring drinking water and taking air samples, said the amount of radioactivity was simply too low to be considered dangerous.
Trace amounts of radioactive iodine 131, linked to Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant, were also showing up in rainwater samples in neighboring states, such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
“This tiny, tiny, tiny amount doesn’t really pose any risk. Again, the question is, will things get worse?” said Dr. Timothy Button of Stony Brook University Medical Center’s Department of Radiation.
“The real concern is large scale releases of U235 and plutonium. You want to keep those locked up. You certainly don’t want those let out into the environment.”
Button said that until Japan’s nuclear plant is stabilized, radioactive iodine may continue to show up along the East Coast, but that parents should not worry about kids playing in the rain, pets drinking rainwater, or anyone eating vegetables from their gardens.
“Any radiation is no good,” said Aquebogue resident Kathy D’Eletto said. “Believe half of what you hear and none of what you see.”
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