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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japanese Radiation Situation FAQ Sheet #1 - Public Health Advisory

The following public health advisory has been issued to medical professionals in Washington, DC.  It concerns radiation risk to those recently returned from Japan.  It is passed along here to the public as a service by the Journal of American Ideas Today:

For Residents of the District of Columbia
Provided by DC Department of Health and DC Emergency Healthcare Coalition

March 23, 2011

The following information is provided to assist residents in the District of Columbia with any questions or concerns regarding the radiation situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant in Japan.  


“Is any one at risk for radiation injury or illness for someone who has just returned from Japan?”

Current guidance from the United States Government (USG) is that anyone who has remained outside of the 50 mile exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant does NOT have a risk for radiation illness or injury and thus does not require a special medical examination.  They should be provided reassurance about their situation.

Even within the 50 mile exclusion zone, the risk remains very low to individuals unless they were on the grounds of the nuclear plant itself.

“Is there any risk for radiation injury or illness for individuals in the US territories?”

The USG has continued monitoring radiation levels and at this time, has no indication that anyone residing in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii) is at risk for radiation injury or illness from the Fukushima plant.

“Is there a risk to individuals who flew on a plane over the East Coast of Japan in the past two weeks?”

There is no risk to individuals who have flown over the East Coast of Japan over the past two weeks.  A no fly zone has been in place over the plant shortly after the incident began. US officials will continue to monitor the situation.

“What evaluation is appropriate for an individual who claims to have been within the 50 mile exclusion zone, near the plant?”

Screening is already being conducted in Japan for populations close the Fukushima plant and at ports of entry into the US.  In addition, the changing of clothes and showering would reduce the chance of this being a productive procedure to conduct at a US facility.

“Should anyone be prescribed potassium iodide (KI)?”

Currently, there is no evidence that anyone present in the US should be prescribed KI for any reason, even if they were in proximity of the Fukushima plant over the past 2 weeks.  The protective effects of the drug require administration near the time of potential exposure.

“Are there any concerns about the food supply in the US?”

Certain food items from Japan have been embargoed by the Japanese Government.  The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and appropriate U.S. agencies continue to monitor those items being imported from Japan for evidence of radioactivity.

This guidance has been developed with available knowledge at the time it was written.  DC DOH and DC EHC will update it as necessary with new guidance if more information becomes available.

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