Officials: Radiation risk here minimal

Local health officials have received calls from people worried that trouble in Japan will spill over here.

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WALLA WALLA -- People calling public health offices concerned about possible radiation poisoning from Japan's disaster can be reassured there is no present danger to Washington state, officials said today.

His office has received some of those calls, said Harvey Crowder, administrator for Walla Walla County Public Health Department.

And while no one can dismiss the gravity of Japan's tragedy, "right now there is almost no chance of exposure in Washington," he said. "There are 6,000 miles of air between here and Japan."

The state conducts ongoing radiation monitoring. The Radiation Protection staff are watching the monitors for any changes in radiation levels, as well as consulting with federal and state experts.

As of now, there have been no elevated readings, health officials said.

People have asked about obtaining potassium iodide, also known as "KI," for protection against radiation, Crowder said. However, "unless you're right in the area of a (nuclear) reactor, that need is nil."

State and local health officials will sound advance warning if there's any evidence or indication the radiation from the Japan nuclear plants is showing up in Washington, he added.

For more information go to www.doh.wa.gov.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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