Radiation concerns

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The ongoing struggles at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan have led to radiation concerns across the United States. Now, state health officials like Maureen Dempsey are monitoring radiation levels in the air and water in Virginia. She expects to see slightly higher radiation levels in the commonwealth if it rains. That's because the radiation is traveling in the atmosphere.

"We shouldn't be overly concerned. We need to keep it in perspective. The radioactive activity has been tracked since Japan and this is going to be an event of short duration," she said.

Other states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have seen slight increases but so far there hasn't been any increase in radiation here in Virginia since the tsunami.

"The levels we're seeing in the air monitoring we're seeing are not triggering any alerts at this point so they're minor, background variation so there's really nothing more to do," said Maureen.

Drinking water is still safe but health officials do have one warning - if you happen to collect rain water for drinking, that's probably not a smart idea.

And here's another thing to keep in perspective when dealing with radiation. We're exposed to varying amounts of it each and every day.

"There's always background radiation from the sun, rocks, bricks, we're always exposed...we're here to say, there really isn't much to worry about at this point," Maureen said.

Those increases in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were minimal, and barely showed up on radiation detectors. Virginia health leaders continuously monitor radiation, even before the earthquake in Japan.

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