A detail from a EPA Rad Net air monitoring station is shown Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Portland, Ore. State physicists analyzing Portland air monitors have found traces of radiation in the air connected to leaks at Japan’s damaged nuclear plants. The air monitors are picking up traces of iodine 131, but the radiation carries no health risk. State health officials in Oregon say the trace amounts of iodine 131 are consistent with the amounts being reported in California, Washington state and the west coast of Canada. The diffusion of the radiation from the 5,000-mile journey from Japan diluted the particles. State health officials say West Coast residents should not take preventative measures to combat the traces of radiation.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Trace amounts of radiation from the damaged Japanese nuclear plant have shown up in eight U.S. states including Alabama, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA said slightly elevated levels of radiation believed linked to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which was damaged during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, have been detected in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington. Small amounts also have been found in the Pacific islands of Guam, Saipan and the Northern Mariana Islands.
None of the readings are high enough to pose a threat to the public, said spokeswoman Davina Marraccini.
"This is slightly above (normal) background . and far below health concerns," she said.
The agency's radiation monitoring system is managed by the National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, where the monitor that detected low levels of radiation in Alabama is located.
Doug Neeley, chief of the EPA's Air Toxics and Monitoring Branch, said the monitoring site in Montgomery detected slightly higher than normal background radiation.
"We are seeing the pattern we expected to see," Neeley said. "The winds come from the west toward the east. And we know where this happened and we see it picked up in monitors in the west and moving east."
Kristen Bremer, a spokeswoman for the laboratory, said radioactivity probably will be picked up by most, if not all, monitors in the United States.