Below is a summation of talking points about radiation provided by our Health Officer, Dr. Vines. Please note the highlighted update regarding use of potassium iodine.
We recommend you continue to check the state Public Health Division’s “Current Hazard” page (link listed below) for updates related to Japan’s nuclear situation. To avoid filling your mailbox with duplicate emails we will continue to relay updated critical information as needed. Feel free share this information with others.
· Oregon Public Health closely monitoring information on the radiation release reported in Japan.
· According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the incident does not pose a radiation health threat to Oregonians. Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity. This is because even large amounts of radioactive material released would be diluted through wind and air streams before reaching the West Cost of the United States.
· Public health officials monitor information from the Environmental Protection Agency's network of highly sensitive radiation detectors, which provide hourly reports of ambient radiation. The monitors are part of a national network run by the Environmental Protection Agency called "RadNet." There are two monitors in Oregon, one in Corvallis and one in Portland.
· There have been no elevated radiation readings detected in Oregon and air samples remain normal. Given the current size of the release and the distance from Oregon, we do not expect that to change and there is no public health risk to the state. We are also in contact with our federal partners including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
· Potassium Iodine or KI has been in the media as a pill that provides thyroid protection from radioactive material. It is only needed in individuals who are 10-12 miles from the source of an uncontrolled release of radioactivity. The federal government has stockpiles of KI, but there are no plans to use it because of the very large distance between Japan and Oregon. Public health does not recommend using KI and urges caution for pregnant or lactating women, children, and kidney disease patients.
More information at http://public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/CurrentHazards/Pages/index.aspx which is updated regularly.
Information line- 1-877-290-6767
Let us know if you have additional questions or concerns!
Anne Parrott, M.S.
Coordinator: Public Health Preparedness
Columbia County Medical Reserve Corps
Columbia County Push Partner Registry
Columbia County SNS
Columbia Health District - Public Health Authority
Office: 503-397-4651 x2022