A new EPA report shows low levels of radioactive particles have been found in samples of milk on the Big Island.
EPA spokesman Dean Higuchi tells Civil Beat these are the first findings of radiation in Hawaii’s milk supply since the Japanese nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Officials with the Food and Drug Administration say the levels of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 found in the milk in Hawaii were still hundreds of times below any level requiring concern. Trace amounts of radiation has also been detected in milk in West Coast states and in Vermont.
“The EPA results are far, far below any public health hazard,” said Siobhan DeLancey with the FDA’s Office of Public Affairs. “In order to reach the level of concern for I-131, which has a half life of about 8 days, you would have to drink about 261 liters of contaminated milk.”
The Big Island samples were collected April 4 and measured in picocuries per liter. A picocurie is one trillionth of a curie. Results of the testing found the following:
Amount of Particle Found in Big Island Milk
FDA Derived Intervention Levels
(* Maximum allowable levels for Cesium are measured combining both Cesium-134 and Cesium-137.)
The report caused some alarm as FDA intervention levels for Iodine-131 in water is much lower than the standard for milk. EPA sets Iodine-131 levels in drinking water at 3 pCi/L, calculated for longterm chronic exposure over a lifetime of 70 years.
DeLancey told Civil Beat there is no reason consumers should stop buying or drinking milk based off of the EPA results. The EPA samples cow milk every three months at more than 30 stations around the U.S. In the wake of the Japan disaster, the EPA has “accelerated” its samplings.
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