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Radiation Levels Along the West Coast Not A Concern

The unprecedented earthquake occurring in Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan’s western seaboard also affected a nuclear power plant in Fukushima.  Despite valiant on-going containment efforts, radioactive materials have escaped into the air, elevating radiation levels in surrounding areas.  As of March 16, emergency evacuation has been ordered for people who live withing 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the troubled nuclear power plant.  While these events are occurring more than 4500 miles from the West Coast of the United States, there is growing public concern regarding radiation.  However, authorities from the Departments of Health in Washington, Oregon and Alaska (the three states in NN/LM PNR along the coast), state that there is no public health risk from the damaged nuclear reactor.

Visit the Washington State Department of Health website for more information about the nuclear reactor in Japan and any associated health risks.

Oregonians can visit the Oregon Health Authority’s web site.

Alaskans can go to the State of Alaska Health and Social Services site to read about radiological preparedness.

Lastly, the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness has published an open-access supplement on nuclear preparedness: http://www.dmphp.org/content/vol5/Supplement_1/index.dtl

Articles from this and other publications of the Nuclear Detonation Scarce Resources Project Working Group can be accessed through the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) tool at http://www.remm.nlm.gov/triagetool_intro.htm . REMM is a source of evidence-based, online and downloadable guidance about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation injury for health care providers.

And, for resources for disaster planning and response, remember to visit the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness Toolkit – http://nnlm.gov/ep/

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