Radiation levels in the United States

As Japanese workers scramble around the clock to cool down and contain the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. We are left to wonder onthe other side of the Pacific Ocean the possible effects released particles could have on San Diego.

Do we need to buy iodine tablets? Is it time to panic? At this point in time the EPA says no. Even as tiny amounts of radiation have reached Northern California (Sacramento to be exact). How the heck did they know where radiation comes from? According to the EPA statement miniscule quantities of the radioactive isotope xenon-133. The origin was determined to be consistent with a release from the Fukushima reactors in Northern Japan. When Xenon-133 is a radioactive noble gas produced during nuclear fission that poses no concern at the detected level.

“At this point the amount of radiation that’s been detected is not even close to coming to levels that would cause harm to humans,” said Cantrell.

A United Nations diplomat with access to radiation tracking says initial readings show radiation levels at one-billionth of what could cause health problems. Scientists say the radioactive particles lose energy and are diluted as they travel across the Pacific Ocean.

“We’re 5,000 miles away, which would have a major dispersal effect on any radiation that reaches the atmosphere. We do not anticipate any amounts of radiation that will cause any ill health effects,” said Howard Backer from the Calif. Department of Public Health.

Experts say don’t waste your money on Geiger counters, facemasks, iodine pills or protective clothing.

“We’re not recommending that people go out and do any of those things,” said Cantrell. “”There’s minerals in the earth that just naturally release trace amounts of radioactive energy, so we’re exposed every day to it.”

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is monitoring foods imported from Japan. The agency is collecting information on where those foods are grown, harvested and made, so it can make sure those products are not dangerous.

Source: Track Radiation Levels Yourself | NBC San Diego

Once again thanks to the great tools that the internet has available, we can see in real-time radiation levels throughout the country via http://www.radiationnetwork.com/. The website’s data is updated every minute and I have been monitoring radiation levels since I began writing this post. Nothing near Sacramento has spiked aboved 31 CPM, the level the image above shows .

Radiation levels at 9:44pm

Radiation Network


How the Map Works:

A growing number of Radiation Monitoring Stations across the country, using various models of Digital GeigerCounters, upload their Radiation Count data in real time to their computer using a Data Cable, and then over the Internet to this web site, all of this accomplished through GeigerGraph for Networks software.

How to Read the Map:

Referring to the Map Legend at the bottom left corner of the map, locate Monitoring Stations around the country that are contributing radiation data to this map as you read this, and watch the numbers on those monitoring stations update as frequently as every minute (your browser will automatically refresh).  The numbers represent radiation Counts per Minute, abbreviated CPM, and under normal conditions, quantify the level of background radiation, i.e. environmental radiation from outer space as well as from the earth’s crust and air.  Depending on your location within the US, your elevation or altitude, and your model of Geiger counter, this background radiation level might average anywhere from 5 to 60 CPM, and while background radiation levels are random, it would be unusual for those levels to exceed 100 CPM.  Thus, the “Alert Level” for the National Radiation Map is 100 CPM, so if you see any Monitoring Stations with CPM value above 100, further indicated by an Alert symbol over those stations, it probably means that some radioactive source above and beyond background radiation is responsible.

Notice the Time and Date Stamp at the bottom center of the Map.  That is Arizona Time, from where we service the Network, and your indication of how recently the Radiation Levels have been updated to the Map.

(Please note: Any White circles on the map represent Monitoring Stations that are running Simulations, instead of using a real Geiger counter, so any Alert levels that may occur over those stations are to be ignored since they represent only momentary testing.)

Try Radiation Network yourself and monitor the levels. According to the legend a dangerous and “Alert Level” would be over 100 CPM. SDSU scientists are monitoring radiation levels but they believe even if levels are detected, they will not be high enough to be harmful to humans.

Its a good idea to be aware of the situation and keep up with updates. Remember that radiation is constantly around us via microwaves and cellphones just to name a few. Don’t panic but be vigilant!


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