Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear Concerns FAQ from Oregon Health Authority


Q. Are there radiological dangers in Oregon due to the nuclear release in Japan?
A. No. We are 4,700 miles away from Japan and any airborne particles are not expected to reach us. There is no indication at this time that there is any health risk.

Q. What happened at the nuclear facility in Japan?
A. The major earthquake damaged nuclear facilities in Japan. In response, Japanese engineers are taking emergency measures to prevent a serious release of radioactive materials. At this time, there are no health risks for Oregonians.

Q. How does this event differ from the Cherynobyl nuclear reactor meltdown event in 1986?
This event is entirely different than what took place in Chernobyl. Unlike Chernobyl, there has been no catastrophic failure.

Q. Are Oregonians on the coast at greater risk than people inland?
A. No. No radiation has been released into the atmosphere that can reach us anywhere in the state. Therefore, there are no current health concerns for any Oregonians on the coast or inland.

Q. Are Oregon officials currently monitoring radiation levels in Oregon? Air and Water?
A. Yes. Radiation levels have been continuously and routinely monitored by Oregon Public Health and EPA for twenty‐five years. If the situation in Japan worsens and the potential risk to Oregonians changes, public health officials will inform the public.

Q. What is Potassium Iodide?
Potassium Iodide (KI) is an iodine supplement that is available over the counter, such as ThryoSafe and ThyroShield. KI is used around nuclear releases to block the uptake of radioactive iodine in the body.

Q. Do I need to take KI to protect against radiation exposure?
A. No. KI is only appropriate within a very close proximity to a nuclear event. Because we are about 4800 miles away there is no need for protection. In fact, using KI when inappropriate could have potential serious side effects such as abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding.

Q. Are there any protective measures I should currently take?
A. No, not given our current situation. If the potential risk to Oregonians changes, local Oregon officials will inform you of the appropriate precautionary procedures.

Q. How do I get more information?
A. Monitor the Oregon Health Authority website @ http://public.health.oregon.gov/Preparedness/CurrentHazards/Pages/index.aspx