Some CDPH Radiation Sample Data for Eureka from 2011-2012

Looking for something else, I came across a pdf with an Air Filter sample taken in Eureka when the first whiffs of Fukushima fallout where beginning to blow through the area on March 15, 2011:  http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/CDPH-RHB-PreLabAnalysis-2011-3-16.pdf  See first image, below.

On November 29, 2012, in my blogpost “… Post-Fukushima Radiation Data for Eureka, CA),” I linked to the EPA ‘s ‘Japan 2011 Radnet Sampling Data’, with these 4 data categories: Air Filter and Air CartridgePrecipitationMilkDrinking Water, and upon checking all four, I found that No samples were even taken by the EPA in Eureka, CA, nor anywhere else in Humboldt County, CA.  

Little late, but apparently the California Department of Public Health did some sample tests, albeit very few (3: an air filter on 1 day and 2 milk samples much later…).

The excerpt (annotated screenshot excerpt, below) shows its Eureka preliminary test results, on which I added the values for Cesium-134 and Cesium 137 in millibequerel per square meter.  Combined, the radioactive cesiums add up to 5+ mBq/m^3 (with margin of error, etc. – doing just a rough calculation here).  If the dust concentration was the same for the 2 km above it, were it all to come down with precipitation, then 5  x 2000 m would hint of the possibility of 10 Bq per square meter, for that day, a value so low, it’s truly nothing to worry about. (Seriously, it isn’t.  Have a look at the Chernobyl fallout map for Europe, most of which received well over 2000 Bq/m^3).  

SOURCE: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/CDPH-RHB-PreLabAnalysis-2011-3-16.pdf w/ my emphasis and annotations - mvb

SOURCE: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/CDPH-RHB-PreLabAnalysis-2011-3-16.pdf
w/ my emphasis and annotations – mvb

For radiation unit conversions, see HERE, and check my Radiation Units page to learn more about the different units.  YOu might also be interested in my blogpost “Radiation Fallout Maps for the United States“.

To gauge possibilities of fallout deposition: let’s say the fallout in the atmosphere goes double as high (4 km) – just for guestimating- , and with air moving through (the above data is based on 20.5 hrs of air filtering, not even a day), for… let’s say 3 weeks…  Then fallout that could have rained down could be… 10x2x21= 420+ Bq/m^2 of radioactive Cesium deposited on the surface.  Still véry low, but it does – again – hint of the possibility of localized relative “hotspots” of over 2,000 Bq/m^2.  (I wouldn’t really call it a true hotspot until it’s at least over 10,000 Bq/m^2, but it’s all relative, to a point.)

Anyhow, same point as in my previous blogpost on the topic, ‘Why I think Humboldt County California needs Its Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Mapped‘ (of course the same is true for other parts of the West Coast, but I just happen to live here.): If there are areas with elevated levels, wouldn’t it be good to know where those are?    The very few other tests in 2011 and 2012 revealed nothing detectible in the area:

Here are the CDPH documents for 2011 and 2012:  (SOURCE: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/RHB-RadReport.aspx ):

And for 2012 sample tests in the region – drum roll: One milk sample On February 7, 2012, from the Humboldt Creamery…  COnclusion for all of Northern California: ‘All is well.’   That’s it:

I mean… do these people take their monitoring orders from the nuclear industry or something?  What “monitoring” is this, to take 1 sample, find trace amounts, and then not do very extensive widespread testing?  One (1 !) milk sample was tested from this region per year: 1 in November 2011 and 1 in February 2012.   That’s it.  Nothing detectible is great, though, don’t get me wrong.  It just seems to lack scientific rigor.  I mean, the EPA ignored over 300 miles around Eureka in any direction, and at the state level, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) apparently also based their “nothing going on here” conclusion on practically no data.  All along they keep reassuring the public that all’s dandy.  Based on almost no information?  I’m sorry, I don’t fall for that.  It could still be true (50/50 chance, I suppose, with the odds in our favor, I’d say), but… Extensive testing could quickly shed light on these unknowns.

Part of the reason I’m wary of their conclusion is that they continue to push the dose concept, which is great for doses from external sources, but can’t really compared to get an idea of the health effects of inhaled/ingested fallout particles (see my Radiation Exposure Effects for clues on their difference).

4.63 picoCuries per liter, which is 0.17131 Bq/l of Cs-134 in a San Luis Obispo milk sample… The CDPH goes on stating that “the combined cesium‐134 and cesium‐137 concentrations detected in the CalPoly milk samples ranges from approximately 3,000 to 3,700 times less than the action level set by the U.S. FDA (33,000 pCi/liter of milk)”, but fails to mention the EPA upper limit of 3 pCi/l (or 0.111 Bq/l).  0.171 Bq/l in that sample San Luis Obispo milk sample is clearly over the EPA limit.  (If you mention that the EPA limit is based on daily consumption at that level for 1 year, and the FDA’s on one-time consumption, people can still decide for themselves if they want to act paranoid, cautious, or don’t care.)

Anyhow, ’cause I don’t want to freak anyone out unnecessarily: for food, generally below 100 Bq/kg is considered safe.  All that means, really, is that some people may still be negatively affected, but that it will be statistically impossible to determine the cause due to way to large uncertainty.   It’s the government’s absurd confidence of statements for vast regions, based on almost no data for one little pinprick of a sample spot within such a region, that gives me the impression that they don’t really want to know.  And thát needs to change.  We have a right to know precisely how much “radioactive food additives” are in our food.  And the companies (TEPCO, GE, …) doing this need to be held accountable.  All nuclear plants must be shut down and safely decommissioned, without further delay.

—– —– —–

Afterword – It’s a sad state of affairs that I, *me*, with a $500 budget have managed to do more radiation sample testing than the EPA.  

See my Spring 2013 4 sample test results HERE.

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