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NW milk still safe according to federal health officials

Dairy industries fear radiaion getting into their products. Milk is the least to worry about when it comes to being exposed to radiation.

Northwest milk industry leaders are hustling to allay fears about radiation in their products. The Environmental Protection Agency found small amounts of radiation in a milk sample taken from a Spokane-area dairy last week.

The agency has stepped up its monitoring program earthquake and nuclear plant disasters in Japan. Blair Thompson is the spokesman for the Washington Dairy Products Commission. He says Northwest dairies are concerned about the findings, but there is no immediate risk to residents.

“Probably the real important take away for consumers is that the trace levels of radiation that have been found are still well, well, well below any threshold level that could possibly pose a threat to human health. About five-thousand times lower than the intervention level that would be a cause for concern,” says Thompson.

Iodine 131 has a very short half life of approximately eight days. The levels in milk are therefore expected to drop relatively quickly. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says watching TV or going on a cross country flight would expose a person to more radiation than the milk in question.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.