Japan 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami U.S. Government Information

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Air Quality

As a result of the incident with the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, several EPA monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the United States consistent with estimates from the damaged nuclear reactors. These detections were expected and the levels detected are far below levels of public-health concern.

Elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater have been expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere. There have been reports received that the states of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen elevated levels of radiation in recent precipitation events. EPA is reviewing this data – however, in both cases these are levels above the normal background levels historically reported in these areas.

While short-term elevations such as these do not raise health concerns – and the levels seen in rainwater are expected to be relatively short in duration – the U.S. EPA has taken steps to increase the level of nationwide monitoring of precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes to continue to verify that. EPA’s only recommendation to state and local governments is to continue to coordinate closely with EPA, CDC and FDA – EPA will continue to communicate our nationwide sampling results as they come in.

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