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Md. Agencies Find Little Or No Radiation

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The U.S. government confirms radiation –in very small amounts — is making its way to the United States.

Derek Valcourt explains what’s being done about it.

Call it miniscule amounts of radiation, so small the state and the federal government are urging everyone not to worry.

It’s a long trip from the site of the Fukushima disaster in Japan to here in the United States, but some radiation has already made it.

Now federal officials say a radioactive form of iodine called iodine 131 has been detected in rainwater in neighboring Pennsylvania and further north in Massachusetts.

The EPA says those rainwater radiation levels are “about 25 times below the level that would be of concern … even for the most vulnerable infants and pregnant women.”

Maryland state health officials say tests of rainwater in Maryland have detected no radiation.

Sensors in Charlottesville, Va. have also detected radioactivity at minute levels.

“They’re very very minute levels.  Just traces of radiation,” said Grant Goodell, UVA environmental science professor.

Last week the federal government moved more electronic air monitoring stations to the West Coast in an effort to reassure people in California that there is no serious threat of radiation from Japan.

“It’s much less still than a regular plane flight, particularly if you go to the clinic and have an X-ray,” said Professor Kai Vetter, department of nuclear engineering. “That’s much higher levels you will be exposed to there.”

Plastic filters tell scientists exactly what is floating in the air. Scientists are monitoring the readings around the clock. So far the small radiation levels detected there are all considered perfectly safe.

“There’s no reason to be afraid right now because the harmful levels are not — based on the experts — they’re not heading in our direction,” said Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General.

State health officials say they’re keeping a close eye on radiation levels and say Marylanders don’t need to change their food or water consumption whatsoever.

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