Radioactive Particles from Fukushima Detected in Hilo Milk

A newly released laboratory analysis of milk samples taken in Hilo, Hawaii, shows traces of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Samples of milk from across the United States are regularly collected and tested by the EPA’s RadNet, a national network of monitoring stations that check air, water, and milk samples for radioactivity.

Cesium 134 (24 picoCuries per liter) and 137 (19 picoCuries per liter), and Iodine 131 (18 picoCuries per liter) were detected and identified in local milk samples taken on April 4, 2011. All are radioactive products that have been emitted by the ongoing Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan.

Jeff Lau, a scientist with the Hawaii Department of Health, told Hawai`i News Daily that the amounts of radioactivity found in Hilo milk was far below the level that would necessitate a public response. “Cesiums are marked at a minimum action level of 10,000,” said Lau. “Iodine 131 has an action level of 200. Someone would have to drink 2 liters of milk per day for two years just to reach the response level.”

The good news is that Iodine 131 has a half life of 8 days. According to Lau, the jet stream from Japan takes 5 days to reach the West Coast, and another 8 days or so to reach Hawaii. The amount of radioactive iodine in the environment is reduced by time.

If radioactivity from Fukushima has been found in Hilo milk, it is reasonable to assume that catchment water — used extensively in East Hawaii — might also be contaminated.

The government does not regulate catchments, and so far there have been no reports of radiation found in Hawaii’s rainwater.

According to HPP resident and contributor Dr. Tom Burnett, water catchments can be adapted to help eliminate  radioactive particulate simply by changing to a 10, 5, or 1 micron filter.