Radiation Monitoring: No Health Risk in Vermont from Reactors in Japan
Trace amounts of radioactivity coming from nuclear power stations damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11 are being measured in the U.S. These are tiny amounts of radioactivity – hundreds to thousands of times below the amounts we experience in everyday life. There is no health risk at this time, and no reason to take any special actions. Do not take potassium iodide (KI). Taking KI when it is not needed will not help, and can harm you.
The Vermont Department of Health is using its environmental radiological monitoring stations around Vermont Yankee, and an air sampling station installed in Burlington, to measure radioactivity changes in the air. The Health Department, Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets continue to take other samples – such as surface and drinking water, milk, vegetation and maple products – for analysis. Results are reported here.
The EPA also continues to test and report on air and milk in Vermont.
Radiation is all around us – from environmental sources, medical procedures, air flights – and naturally in our own bodies. To understand some of the sources of radiation that you may be exposed to in your everyday life, you can calculate your annual dose at the EPA's website.
February 23, 2012
US Geological Survey and the National Atmospheric Deposition Program released its report which studied fallout from Fukushima in the U.S., including Vermont.
"Levels measured were similar to measurements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the days and weeks immediately following the March 2011 incidents, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern."
A USGS report and article published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, as well as a map of NADP sites with observed fallout can be found online at http://bqs.usgs.gov/fukushima/.
June 16, 2011
The Health Department has returned to routine environmental testing frequencies. The air sampling site in Burlington, added to environmental monitoring program because of the events in Japan, will continue to be sampled on a monthly basis. Additional data will be reported in the annual environmental surveillance report.
As part of its routine testing practice, a collection of air filters gathered between April 19 and May 10 were analyzed by the Health Department. This test combined the individual air filters collected during this time. The grouping of the filters together lets the laboratory detect trace amounts of radionuclides that cannot be detected in individual samples. Trace amounts of cesium-137 and natural radionuclides were detected. The results were expected and are consistent with the events in Japan
Information, Resources & Test Results
Vermont Laboratory Test Results
Earlier Situation Updates
May 23 Update - Weekly samples tested at the Health Department Laboratory continue to be less than the detection limit for iodine-131 and other human-made radionuclides. In June, the Health Department will return to routine environmental testing frequencies. The air sampling site in Burlington, added to environmental monitoring program because of the events in Japan, will continue to be sampled.
As part of its routine testing practice, a collection of air filters gathered between March 24 and April 15 were analyzed by the Health Department. This test combined the individual air filters collected during this time. The grouping of the filters together lets the laboratory detect trace amounts of radionuclides that cannot be detected in individual samples. Trace amounts of cesium-134, cesium-137, as well as iodine-131 and natural radionuclides were detected. The results were expected and are consistent with the events in Japan.
May 13, 2011 - Vegetation, milk, water and air continue to be tested for radionuclides. Air, water, and milk samples collected weekly from locations across Vermont continue to be less than the detection limit for iodine-131 and other human-made radionuclides. Vegetation collected by state sampling teams as part of the May 4, 2011 Vermont Yankee Emergency Response Drill were also less than the detection limit for these radionuclides. As of May 3, 2011 the EPA reported that based upon declining sample results of radioactivity in all sample types tested, it was returning to routine frequency of testing and reporting.
- April 28, 2011 - Air samples collected by the Health Department from around the state for the week ending April 22nd show no levels of iodine-131 in air. Other sample types also continue to be negative
- April 09, 2011 - EPA: Trace Amounts of Cesium-137 in Vermont Milk
- April 08, 2011 - Updated Vermont Air Sample Results
- March 30, 2011 - Trace Amounts of I-131 in Vermont Air Samples
- March 23, 2011 - Vermont Radiological Testing Expanded
- March 16, 2011 - Events in Japan: What does it mean for Vermont?
- March 14, 2011 - Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
Resources and Information
- U.S. Government Information
A comprehensive collection of U.S. web information related to this event. Get updates on air quality and food safety; information for Americans in Japan; resources on donations; and more.
- EPA's Radiation Air Monitoring
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- International Atomic Energy Agency
Emergency Preparedness Resources
Talking to Children about Disasters
Images and information in the news and on the internet about the tragic events in Japan can be very troubling for students, especially younger children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has great resources for talking to children about disasters: http://www.aap.org/disasters/adjustment.cfm
Page last updated: February 23, 2012