SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Public Health on Friday issued the following statement declaring that state residents are in no danger from radiation released by the nuclear power plant in Fukushima following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The California Department of Public Health (Department) has responded to numerous requests surrounding the safety of California residents from past and current incidents at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan. Information from federal agencies, state programs, as well as the department’s own sampling results, conclude there are no health and safety concerns to California residents.
The department recently responded to reports of elevated radioactivity readings on California’s beaches in the vicinity of Half Moon Bay (San Mateo County). Preliminary data compiled by the department indicates the elevated radioactivity is due to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), not Fukushima-related activities.
The NORM on the beaches is not causing an impact to public health. The department’s final report on its investigation will be posted on its website within the next few weeks.
The department performs ongoing statutorily required environmental monitoring around California’s nuclear power plants to determine if plant operations are impacting the environment. Attached are laboratory and chain-of-custody reports for 2011, 2012, and most of 2013 for seawater, sea life, sea kelp, milk, and soils. All seawater and sea life results are below the department laboratory minimum detectable limits.
Very low levels of radioactivity were detected in milk during the Fukushima accident, which were well below any level of health concern. Low levels of radioactive potassium-40 (K-40, NORM) were detected.
All samples are analyzed by the department’s laboratory for gamma-emitting radioactive materials using high-purity gamma spectroscopy. Seawater samples are also analyzed for tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen). Sample reports for gamma spectroscopy only report values when the sample results exceed the minimum detectable activity …
The department is compiling air sampling results for the same time frame. As soon as the department receives updated data from the laboratory, all applicable results will be posted on its website (www.cdph.ca.gov/rhb). Environmental results are collected and analyzed on a quarterly basis.