Area residents still advised to take precautions
*** THIS IS AN EXERCISE: THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT. ***
For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2009 • 10:00 a.m.
Burlington, VT – All of the direct measurements taken so far by 10 radiological sampling teams at multiple sites in western Vermont show levels of radiation that are at background normal levels, or are undetectable.
In addition to direct field measurements, samples of soil, vegetation, water, milk, eggs, foods and animal feeds are being collected from state parks, farms and producers in the area for laboratory analysis by the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory in Burlington or by the State of Connecticut’s mobile laboratory that is now in the state.
“The early field results are encouraging, but it’s still too early to tell if there is excess contamination in the state as a result of the dirty bomb blasts in New York on Sunday,” said the Health Department’s radiological health expert Bill Irwin, ScD.
“This work will take some time. We continue to ask area residents – particularly in Bennington, Rutland and Addison counties – to follow instructions and take precautions until we have more precise information.”
In addition to Vermont’s HazMat team, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region I) has also sent more than 50 radiological emergency response specialists to the aid of the state, and Connecticut has provided a mobile laboratory to analyze samples.
These teams join the Vermont Department of Health, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Labor, the 15th Civil Support Team. All will work together over the coming days and weeks to ensure the health and safety of residents, visitors, environment and products.
The work in Vermont is being managed by radiological health experts and coordinated with local, state, New York, New England and federal authorities through the Health Operations Center located at the Health Department offices in Burlington. Field operations are being conducted out of the Vermont State Police Academy in Pittsford.
Precautions for People in Rutland, Bennington & Addison Counties
For now, the Health Department is advising people in Bennington, Rutland and Addison counties are to avoid eating food or food products that have been out in the open, and may have been contaminated by very low levels of radiation.
- Packaged foods in unopened cans, jars, bottles and bags will be safe to eat. Wash the outside of the container before opening it.
- Foods covered and stored in freezers, refrigerators and pantries should be safe as well.
- Produce from gardens and orchards, or wild foods, should not be eaten for now, until health authorities say it is safe.
- Most water supplies come from protected underground wells, or large bodies of water where any contamination is going to be diluted and should be safe to drink.
- If you have any doubt, do not eat or drink suspect foods or food products or feed them to your pets or livestock.
- For those in the affected areas, continue to wash hands often, take daily showers and take shoes off before coming inside. Help children (and pets) do the same.
- Talk to children to let them know that everyone in government and in our communities are working together to make sure that children and their pets and families are safe.
If you were in the Albany, New York area at the time of the blasts, call the Health Department at 800-439-8550 or dial 2-1-1. You may call as well if you spent significant time in the Albany area since the blasts occurred at around 10:00 a.m. on, Sunday May 31, to talk about any actions you should take and any health concerns you may have.
Do Not Travel to Albany City, Albany and Rensselaer Counties
New York has seen significant disruption. Vermonters are still advised not to travel into Rensselaer and Albany Counties in New York or to the City of Albany. Additional information about public health or environmental health in New York is available from those agencies.
For More Information –
Stay tuned to radio and TV for updates and announcements. For updates, extensive additional information and resources, go to healthvermont.gov, or dial 2-1-1 for assistance in any language.