Topeka State officials said Thursday that “minuscule” levels of radiation from the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan have been detected in Kansas but posed no health threat.
“We understand the concern Kansans may have,” said Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is also a surgeon. “What we are seeing is a minuscule blip on the meter. The consensus remains from international, national and state health experts that this does not pose a health risk to Kansans,” Colyer said.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 started a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-chi facility. Explosions rocked two reactor buildings resulting in the release of dangerous nuclear radiation.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other federal agencies in the United States have been monitoring the situation.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment conducts a wide variety of soil, air, water, vegetation and animal life samplings on a weekly and quarterly basis.
KDHE Secretary Robert Moser, who also is a physician, said the elevated levels of radiation in the United States, including Kansas, were expected.
“While these levels are well below any need for public concern, we are working with county health departments in case Kansans have any questions,” Moser said. “We will also continue to monitor our state’s environment and report future spikes in these levels if they were to occur,” he said.
Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman said the Kansas food supply is safe and secure.
The Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working on the situation with the Japanese government to ensure imported food is safe to eat, officials said.
Officials advised Kansans against taking potassium iodide, which can block radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide is only appropriate when one is close to an incident at a nuclear facility, they said.