Radiation from Japan detected in Arizona

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by Stacey Delikat

azfamily.com

Posted on March 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

PHOENIX - Trace levels of radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in Japan have been detected in areas West of the Valley. Officials say the levels are too low to pose any risk.

Health physicists from the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA) say they first noticed a slight uptick in levels of the radioactive material Iodine-131 on Saturday in areas west of the Valley, and in one Phoenix location. The readings were slightly higher on Monday.

The agency has increased their readings of radiation levels from weekly to daily since an earthquake struck Japan, damaging nuclear power facilities there.

The agency's detection instruments are mostly located near the Palo Verde power plant, west of Buckeye. One is at a South Phoenix location.

Aubrey Godwin, the director of ARRA, says the levels are nothing to worry about.

At one testing location near Arlington Elementary School west of Buckeye, readings from Monday March 21 registered at 3.6 picocuries per cubic meter. Godwin says levels would have to be above 1000 pCi/M3 to pose any risk.

Godwin echoed other state officials who have urged Arizonans not to consume potassium iodide, or KI, an over-the-counter drug as a precaution. While KI can protect the thyroid from severe exposure to radiation, officials say it's unnecessary in Arizona and could cause more harm than good.

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