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Radiation hot line open for concerned Californians; health officials reassert that there's no risk expected

View Radiation fallout in a larger map

California Department of Public Health officials have opened a phone hot line to address concerns about local radiation exposure in the aftermath of a crisis at a Japanese nuclear power complex damaged in last week's earthquake and tsunami.

The action came as health officials seek to calm fears about potential fallout as Japanese nuclear experts struggle to contain the aftermath of fires, explosions and nuclear fuel-rod exposure at the six-reactor Fukushima power complex, about 150 miles north of Tokyo.

“What we’re being told is that there is no threat to California at this time,” said Mike Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. “It’s a matter of distance. Dangerous radioactivity could not cross the 5,0000 miles of the Pacific without petering out.”

Federal officials said there was a remote risk of radiation affecting livestock and food, although they stressed they did not consider it a major concern.

Sicilia said his office’s radioactive health branch has physicists who routinely test the food supply monthly for any sign of contamination.

Anyone with concerns may contact the department's hotline in English and Spanish at (916) 341-3947. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in Atlanta also has made a line available to anyone with questions at (800) CDC-INFO.

As of Tuesday, the state hotline had received more than 120 calls, Sicilia said, mostly people afraid of radiation exposure, many trying to buy potassium iodide pills.

“That’s very concerning to us because you really should not take that without professional advice,” he said, or “unless you are within the zone of the nuclear event,” the 12-mile radius surrounding Fukushima that has already been evacuated.

Potassium iodide poses a risk to pregnant and nursing women, those with thyroid problems, allergies to iodine and shellfish, Sicilia said.

“We are not recommending it. Don’t take it. It’s useless,” he said.


Carrier Ronald Reagan assisting Japanese relief

California 'too far' for Japan radiation to reach, officials say

'No danger at this time,' California health officials have been reassured

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Map shows location of the Fukushima nuclear complex, as well as points in the U.S. Click on the points to learn more. Credit: Times reporting, Google

Comments () | Archives (15)

Being afraid is the one job in the U.S. experiencing historically low unemployment levels.

The media as a whole thrives on it, and outlets like Fox News have turned it into a science. Just find one person who can spout an objectively-incorrect fact, and present it as news of how X will destroy your job / home / health / nation via Y.

Or simply state "Some people say..." and follow it up with a non-sequitor talking point or fear-mongering statement.

You might want to tell the Surgeon General of the United States that Sicilia thinks taking potassium iodide tablets is useless. The SG said it was a good precaution to obtain them . . .

"Federal officials said there was a remote risk of radiation affecting livestock and food, although they stressed they did not consider it a major concern."

And this is not a big problem? You might get cancer if you drink milk, eat fruit and vegetables or meat. Maybe that's not news, I suppose.

Hey Folks..

Look..its real simple..some friends here in NorCal..have access to the Public High School Science Department which has..the Whole.."Kit".

An A-1 "Civilian Defense" kit with a Top Shelf Government Issued G-Counter and Other Equipment.

We went and got it yesterday and have been taking readings with which to generate OUR OWN.."Graphs" and "Numbers".


So..Others I'm sure will also be doing similar things. It will be..this time..in a rare event..Up To You Whether you "Want To" Believe the "Official Don't Panic Take A Vacation Spend Money Believe..Believe..Believe" Federal and State "Story"..or the Images of Citizens Showing you the Footage of "Clicks" from the 14th Through the ??.


Citizens are ALSO Measuring this situation and Recording Data..we have Federally Issued Meters..same ones Used by "State" Agencies.

We WILL Post that Information if it becomes necessary.

Rule: "No Post? No Problem!"

What do they mean by remote risk? So there is a risk or not? If there's no risk, why are they testing food then?

It'll probably be inundated with whining, crybaby Republicans. The bed wetters on the right are afraid of everything.

Radiation could affect livestock and food. Hey, wait a minute...we ARE livestock...

Was there a news report in the past 6 months or so about how the government was said to be stockpiling those potassium iodide pills? I'm sure I read that from one of the reliable news sources.

the only thing "the bed-wetters on the right" are afraid of is a threat to the nuclear power industry, in which they are heavily invested and from which they receive campaign dollars. I hope the public can make good and sure that this is the final act for nuclear power anywhere in the world. This is unacceptable risk.

Isn't the state of California in a budget crisis? Why are they spending money on a hotline when dollars could be better spent on actual issues in the state of California?

I don't why nobody is coming forward and tell us the radius of radiation effects. I believe somebody wants to create panic all over the world.

I really hope that toxic gas doesn't get over Sunny California. But even so, all the people in that area should be very careful at what they're eating from the Ocean for a veeeery long time. Specialists should check that problem too and the media should warn the people.

my husbands insists I take potassium iodide, can he bully me
into this? I live in OC, California

I really don't think we will be told even if there is harm of California getting radiation from Japan, our goverment tells so many lies.

This is only showing the traveling route of the plume of smoke that rose up from Japan on Saturday, March 12th and where it will end up in CA tomorrow, March 18th. What about the continuing radiation leaking from the Fukushimi plant on all the days in between? Let's pray NAPCO gets their power back so they can get that situation under control in Japan, otherwise, won't we continue to get radiation on a daily basis as long as the nuclear plant is spewing it up and the winds are traveling our way?

May God put his hand on this situation and help the fearless Japanese workers to contain this disaster.


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