RADIATION DISPERSAL FROM JAPAN
NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.
Environmental Radiation Monitoring
What is being done to ensure the safety of food imported from Japan?
How could the leaking Japanese reactors contaminate items, like mail or cargo containers?
When radioactive particles are released into the environment, they can be carried on dirt, dust, ash, smoke, water, or other material. When those materials settle onto surfaces, they carry the radioactive particles onto the surfaces with them. Once on a surface, the radioactive particles can be transferred by contact with other surfaces, just as dirt can be transferred by contact between surfaces. This transfer can continue on to other surfaces, generally resulting in lower levels of contamination on each subsequent surface. As these particles are deposited on other surfaces, they continue to give off radiation.
What U.S. Agency is responsible for monitoring for the radiation and radioactivity?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a national network of monitoring stations that regularly collect air, precipitation, drinking water, and milk samples for analysis of radioactivity. The RadNet network, which has stations in each State, has been used to track environmental releases of radioactivity from nuclear weapons tests and nuclear accidents. In addition, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA are currently deploying additional monitoring equipment in the Pacific and along the west coast of North America. The DOE has an aerial measurement system (AMS) consisting of several fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA RadNet (environmental radiation monitoring network):
Are there protective measures that workers in the Western U.S. or territories should be taking?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts environmental radiation monitoring in the United States. EPA and NRC state that they do not expect to see radiation at harmful levels reach U.S. states or territories. (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/statement.html) For current information, consult your state’s emergency preparedness web site.
Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami disaster response
United States Government
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Red Cross/Red Crescent
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- New Hours of Operation
- Contact CDC-INFO