Radiation from Japan worries Nevada Co. residents | SierraSun.com

Radiation from Japan worries Nevada Co. residents

Kyle Magin/Sun News ServiceWill Doleman, of Rough and Ready, displays his radiation detector, which has recently been reading increased levels of radiation in Nevada County, he said.

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Local health officials are cautioning Nevada County residents against getting too concerned over the threat of radiation after Japan’s recent nuclear accident.

On March 11, a massive earthquake rocked the island nation, followed by a tsunami that damaged reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, leading to a radiation leak.

Local monitors have not detected dangerous levels of radiation from the reactor, despite an increased concern from some Nevada County residents.

Callers have been contacting Sierra Care Physicians in Grass Valley with concerns over the effects of increased radiation, representatives with the pediatrics office said.

Likewise, Sandra White-Hornsby, a Nevada County woman who runs the website wellnessanswers.org, has been fielding calls from people curious to find out what foods are best to eat to protect themselves against increased levels of radiation (stick to green veggies and seaweed, White-Hornsby said).

The risk of damage from increased radiation levels is negligible, said Dr. Roger Hicks with Grass Valley’s Yuba Docs clinic.

and#8220;I’d be more concerned about the radiation you get in everyday lifeand#8221; than any danger from trace amounts of radiation detected in the atmosphere after explosions at the reactors, said Nevada County Department of Health Director Dr. Karen Milman.

County health officials receive weekly updates from State of California offices and would be alerted early on if radiation levels became unsafe, Milman added.

and#8220;There hasn’t been cause for alarm,and#8221; Milman said.

That assessment is at odds with one provided by Will Doleman, a Rough and Ready man who takes daily readings on a radiation monitoring device known as a RadAlert. Doleman, who began taking radiation readings as a hobby after 1979’s Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown, reports finding increased radiation levels near his home since March 15, four days after the accident.

Doleman said he took measurements in January to serve as a test group to account for background radiation and#8212; radiation received from every day sources like the sun and household appliances. Radiation measured after the disaster in Japan rose markedly above the readings from January, Doleman said.

and#8220;Any exposure you get can increase your chances of getting cancer,and#8221; Doleman said.

It is highly unlikely Doleman’s device is sensitive enough to pick up increases in radiation that government monitors would miss, said Wesley Nicks, Nevada County director of Environmental Health.

and#8220;Those readings are barely measurable,and#8221; Nicks said. and#8220;Background radiation from the sun would mask it.and#8221;

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