State: Minuscule levels of radiation pose no health risk

State health officials announced Wednesday that Colorado has joined other states in detecting minuscule levels of radiation coming from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, but they emphasized there is no risk to the public.

“It is not a public health concern,” said Mark Salley, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Preliminary sampling from a Colorado monitor detected a radioactive isotope that has been sent to the Environmental Protection Agency for further analysis. But Salley noted the dose of radiation Americans receive daily from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun is about 100,000 times higher than the radiation from Japan.

Officials say the radiation has diluted significantly as it has traveled thousands of miles over the Pacific Ocean and will continue to dilute as it moves over the East Coast and the Atlantic Ocean.

Health officials also caution residents not to seek potassium iodide and that, in fact, the tablets may have harmful side effects. Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer and executive director of the state Health Department, said using potassium iodide when it’s unnecessary can cause intestinal upset, rashes, allergic reactions, soreness of teeth and gums and inflammation of the salivary glands. Pregnant women are particularly sensitive to the health risks of potassium iodide, he said.


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