EPA criticized for scaling back on monitoring fallout from Japan disaster
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is wrong to cut monitoring for radiation with the nuclear disaster in Japan still unfolding, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said this week.
Last week EPA announced that it was returning to its regular program of quarterly sampling for radiation in precipitation, drinking water and milk because tests indicated that fallout from Japan was “well below any level of public health concern.”
PEER points out that EPA’s 50-year old network of air monitors has wide gaps, elevated levels of Iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137, and Strontium-90, are showing up in milk, and elevated levels of I-131 continue to be found in rainwater.
“With the Japanese nuclear situation still out of control and expected to continue that way for months, and with elevated radioactivity continuing to show up in the U.S., it is inexplicable that EPA would shut down its Fukushima radiation monitoring effort,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in a statement.
Ruch added that radiation readings in seawater off the Japanese coast at depths of up to 100 feet are 1,000 times normal levels.
The group also warned that EPA is in the process of increasing the allowable levels or Protective Action Guides, for radioactive substances in soil and drinking water.