In the second week of March, there were reports that nuclear radiation coming from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan had reached the U.S. West Coast. Reports from Reuters and the Associated Press state that small amounts of radioactive particles have reached California. Because of the small quantity of the particles, experts say that this is not a source for a major health problem for residents in the area.
The news agencies reported that the source of this information came from people who are able to access data from measuring stations which are being run by the U.N.’s widespread Treaty Organization.
On March 14, British Columbia Health Officer, Perry Kendall, released a statement saying that a few pharmacies have reported an increase in the sale of iodide tablets. The tablets can act as protection in the event of exposure to the radioactive element iodine 131. Kendall also added that there is no health risk coming from the radioactive elements from Japan’s nuclear reactors and that taking potassium iodide tablets is not necessary. On March 16, British Columbia released an update which said that there is no health risk to the residents of the area.
On March 15, officials in the state of California announced in a statement that people should not take potassium iodide for precautionary measures. Potassium iodide can present health risks, especially to those who have allergies to iodine and those who have thyroid problems.
Two days after, Greg Jaczko, who is the chair for the country’s commission for Nuclear Regulation, informed White House reporters that his experts do not see anything that would be a source of concern for the country. This statement was an answer to increasing concern regarding the level of radioactive elements that have reached the West Coast.