East Bay News
Bay Area water tested for radiation
BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- More radiation from the Japan disaster is being detected in the U.S. and now they've found trace amounts in Bay Area rivers and even milk. But experts are very clear it's not dangerous.
"We want to see what kind of pollution do you see, and where does it go,"
An alarmist would be worried after last week's rains, because at UC Berkeley, testing shows the presence of iodine, cesium, and tularium that have made their way through the jet stream from Japan to U.S. shores. The pollution also in our air has diluted into runoff and there are minute traces in our milk.
At UC Berkeley, researchers Kai Vetter and Dr. Dan Chivers know this because they have set up a series of collectors and monitors, but they are not concerned.
"The amount of radiation we see is extremely small," Vetter said.
"Thousands of times less than what we see every day in the environment," Chivers said.
But the fact that they see any traces at all concerns many average people, who hear the word 'radiation' and want to run for cover. In reality, scientists detect these traces because their equipment is extremely sensitive, and these results come after reassurances that none of the pollutants would enter the jet stream.
"Well they attach to other aerosols and particles that make it into the stratosphere," Vetter said.
From there, they will spread across the planet as any other pollutants. The good news is that iodine has a half life of eight days and tularium, even less. Cesium lives for about 30 years, but the trace levels are so small compared to everyday background radiation, that they are inconsequential. A person would have to drink 500 liters of creek water to equal the radiation exposure of one, round trip cross country airline journey.
"In fact, we will probably see this in a month or so and it will be below our detectable limits," Chivers said.
What they can't see and barely measure won't hurt you.
japan quake, tsunami, nuclear energy, uc berkeley, east bay news, wayne freedman
- SJ store owner gets $1M for selling winning ticket 1 min ago
- Family to hold prayer vigil for girl on life support
- Two cars gifted in annual East Bay holiday tradition 12 min ago
- Behind-the-scenes: Saying farewell to 'The Stick'
- Bay Bridge bolt fix running a month behind schedule 52 min ago
- SF supervisor proposes ban on botled water 33 min ago
- Georgia woman has 1 of 2 winning lottery tickets
- Hero guide dog assured good home after NY rescue
- Patriarch off 'Duck Dynasty' after gay comments 32 min ago
- Woman distracted by FB on phone falls off pier
- abcnews: Justin Bieber says 'I'm Retiring' from music 13 min ago
- Bay Area New Year's Eve fireworks and events
- roundup: Stolen ATM recovered; SF shooting
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Thursday
- SF supervisor proposes ban on botled water
33 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos