Following concern from Washington Residents, the Department of Health has released information regarding radiation levels in coastal seafood.
The Department of Health continues to work with local and federal partners to monitor for radioactive contamination from the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan in 2011. So far, nothing has been found in Washington that is a health concern.
To date, no studies show fish or shellfish off the Pacific coast have radioactive contamination that would pose a risk to people who eat them.
Department of Health tested a limited amount of salmon, steelhead, and razor clams to look for radioactivity from nuclear power plants.
All test results were far below levels that would pose a threat to peoples’ health.
The Department says that they will continue to test fish and shellfish, focusing on the species most likely to travel long distances across the ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks debris movement and seawater circulation. The last report NOAA provided was in December 2012 when radioactivity would have traveled to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. No increases in radiation were found.
In 2012, crews field-tested hundreds of items found on state beaches and found no radioactive contamination. The consensus among scientists is that it’s highly unlikely that any tsunami debris from Japan is radioactive. The tsunami created debris from a large stretch of Japan’s coast, but the leak from the damaged Fukushima reactor occurred in one place. The leak of contaminated water from the reactor started days to weeks after the tsunami debris had washed out to sea. By the time the radioactive water leak developed, the debris was already in the ocean, miles away from the reactor.
The Department of Health monitors the air for radioactivity at several locations around the state. Testing is done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They can detect increases in radiation levels that would identify a potential threat to the public’s health.