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PSR Statement on Radiation Exposure in the United States from the Japan Nuclear Accident
March 21, 2011
The unknown and changing situation in Japan regarding
radiation releases is continuing to cause concern and confusion here in the
United States. PSR National and our
Chapters are receiving many questions regarding radiation effects and requests
for medical advice. It is not possible
for PSR to provide specific case-by-case medical advice. This should be given by individual health
care providers and public health officials.
Currently, the primary public health risk from radiation
exposure is to people closest to the plant site in Japan and in particular the
workers. At this time, it is not known
how much radiation may reach the US. It will depend on the amount of radiation
released and how the wind blows. Given the long distance across the ocean
between the US and Japan, much smaller amounts are likely to reach the US and
will likely not require any special treatment. However, avoiding radioactively
contaminated food and water is strongly recommended.
For those people who are close by and directly affected by
the radioactive plume, protective measures include staying indoors, moving to
safer areas, and having children, pregnant women and lactating mothers take potassium
iodide (KI). Pregnant mothers should do
this only in consultation with their physician. Patients with known thyroid disorders should
also consult a physician.
At this time, we do NOT recommend that people in the US
purchase or take potassium iodide (KI).
We do not recommend further preventive measures at the present
time. We will continue to monitor the
situation as best we can.
Potassium Iodide fact sheet
FAQs About Radiation (California Department of Public Health)
In the Spotlight
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What now, after the Supreme Court stay?
The Supreme Court in February 2016 issued a "stay," or a temporary suspension, of the Clean Power Plan while a lower court reviews this legal challenge. This situation raises many questions.