The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported Wednesday that, during a detailed analysis of four west coast RadNet air monitor filters, it identified trace amounts of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium consistent with the recent Japanese nuclear incident that resulted from the March 10 earthquake. These levels are consistent with the levels found by a Department of Energy monitor last week and are to be expected in the coming days.
EPA’s samples were captured by three monitors in California and one in Washington state on Friday, March 18 and sent to EPA scientists for detailed laboratory analysis. The data was reviewed over the weekend, and the analysis was completed Monday night. The radiation levels detected on the filters from California and Washington monitors are hundreds of thousands to millions of times below levels of concern. In addition, Tuesday night preliminary monitor results in Hawaii detected minuscule levels of an isotope that is also consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident. This detection varies from background and historical data in Hawaii. This isotope was detected at the EPA’s fixed monitor in Hawaii, and it is far below any level of concern for human health, according to that agency. The sampling filter from this monitor is being sent to the EPA’s national radiation lab for further analysis. According to the EPA, in a typical day, Americans receive doses of radiation from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun that are about 100,000 times higher than what the agency has detected coming from Japan. For example, the levels coming from Japan are 100,000 times lower than what one gets from taking a roundtrip international flight.