Radiation Levels Said to Rise In California: Find Out About Your Town

Radiation Levels Were Originally Said to Be On the Rise As a Result of Devastation in JapanRadiation Levels Were Originally Said to Be On the Rise As a Result of Devastation in Japan

The Associated Press reported Friday that radioactive fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear reactors had made its way to Southern California; however, radiation readings appeared low enough that they did not pose a health threat.  Later that day, the Southeast Air Quality Management District said there was no increase in radiation.  In fact, AQMD spokeswoman Tina Cherry said, "There's no risk detected through the monitor."

As an East-Coaster whose never given radiation levels much thought, the news about rising levels in Cali (and then not rising) made me think--what are the effects of high radiation levels?   What's considered a dangerously high level of radiation?  And do I even know what the radiation levels are in my area?

The NRC Presents Facts About RadiationThe NRC Presents Facts About RadiationAccording to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "Radiation is all around us."  Our environment naturally possesses some radiation, which comes from outer space, the ground, and even our own bodies.  What's more, radiation levels can vary from one location to another depending on factors such as altitude.  "About half of the total annual average U.S. individual's radiation exposure comes from natural sources," says the NRC.  "The other half is from diagnostic medical procedures."  

The NRC says that low level exposure to radiation has biological effects so small they are undetectable because the body has repair mechanisms that protect against any damage.  However, damaged cells could potentially incorrectly repair themselves, resulting in a biophysical change.  Furthermore, an association exists between high levels of radiation and cancer.  "Cancers associated with high-dose exposure (greater than 50,000 mrem) include leukemia, breast, bladder, colon, liver, lung, esophagus, ovarian, multiple myeloma, and stomach cancers," says the NRC.  However, no data proves the unequivocal occurrence of cancer following low doses of radiation.  "Low doses" are considered to be those that are less than 10,000 mrem--spread out over many years.  

Sources of Radiation in the U.S. are 50% Naturally Occurring Says NRCSources of Radiation in the U.S. are 50% Naturally Occurring Says NRC

Normal background radiation levels in the environment should be anywhere from 5 to 60 counts per minute (CPM).  Fortunately, online geiger counters are available, which report to the public the radiation levels in most locations throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states.  One is the Radiation Network, at www.radiationnetwork.com, presented by Mineralab, LLC.  Here, you can also find links that will take you to geiger maps of Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii.  The radiation level where I live is currently about 35, which is interestingly higher than central California's current 29.  Within minutes, the radition level in my area rose to 37, and central California went down to 19.  

Radiation Network's Geiger Map on March 19, 5:24 Eastern Time: www.radiationnetwork.comRadiation Network's Geiger Map on March 19, 5:24 Eastern Time: www.radiationnetwork.com

However, Radiation Network doesn't report southern California, where the radiation was originally said to be on the rise.  For southern Californian's concerned about radiation levels, a good site to check out is Enviro Reporter's streaming video footage of radiation monitors in West LA.

Sources: LA Times and NRC



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Mar 20, 2011
by Anonymous

Look around you

Interesting article there Amanda... Your link to radiationnetwork.com is a good link with pretty good info but I wonder how "As an East-Coaster whose never given radiation levels much thought" much attention you really payed to the map they provide. Look at it again and see how saturated the eastern seaboard is with nuclear reactors. Considering how close 3 Mile Island is and the amount of reactors that surround you and that the winds normally blow to the east I would think you just might start having an interest in the possibility of radiation contamination at some point in your life.

Mar 20, 2011
by Anonymous

It is not Cali

Please, east-coasters, stop calling it "Cali". No one aside from a few rappers has ever called California "Cali". No one from the state uses that abbreviation.

Mar 20, 2011
by Amanda Hinski
Amanda Hinski's picture

The first comment:  Thank

The first comment:  Thank you for the input.  I will look into that.  

Second comment:  I don't normally refer to California as "cali" in my everyday speech.  The Associated Press recommends that the press use the abbreviation "Calif." in the news but that seemed dated...

Third comment:  Thank you for the link to black cat systems, I had seen it but wasn't sure which one was better.  Thanks again! 

Amanda Hinski


Mar 20, 2011
by Anonymous

Would they tell us?

The Idea that there's a site to tell us how bad were poisoning ourselves is ironic and doubtful. If i told you that all mankind were slaves would you disagree? Cute and cuddly radiation anyone want a microwave burrito hehe. And yeah i say cali sometimes but I will always sound black when i do, not that i hate black people but rap fails.

Mar 21, 2011
by Anonymous


Sensitive, are we?

Mar 21, 2011
by Anonymous

caps lock

i hate people who use caps lock. its hard to read and makes you look ignorant. lol

Mar 22, 2011
by Anonymous


Yea we do, don't try an act all pretentious.

Mar 22, 2011
by Anonymous

Caps lock guy

The capslock guy speaks the truth. . .

Mar 29, 2011
by Anonymous


I disagree. I was born and raised in "Cali," and I use that term a lot when writing online.
Are you even a native of California? Because, no Californian I know would ever have their panties in a twist over someone calling this state Cali. We have far bigger things to fret over than that!!!

Mar 29, 2011
by Anonymous

To 4th generation

Very good points about the Toxic mix....and yes indeedy! We have that all around corrupt government that more and more of mainstream is starting to wake up to! A bit too late, unfortunately, imo.

Apr 13, 2011
by Anonymous

LOL agreed

NO ONE calls it Cali in California...love the rappers ref.

Too true.

Sep 14, 2011
by Anonymous

Radiation Network - Private vs Gov Info

The truth is our Gov doesn't have enough informed websites to tell the WE THE PEOPLE enough or protect them enough against any NRC issue...even in this country. The map above is from a private software company where once you buy in, you along with the growing public get to see radiation rate updates e/3 seconds while your setup is active. Try finding one that the GOV shares and you'e out of luck.
When something like the Fort Calhoun flooding incident happened, more information was gleaned not from our own Government; but from Russia. Why? Because the NRC rules say you have to report Nuclear power plant issues. President Obama also wanted to limit negative information on Nuclear Power, even though most of our facilities in the United States are 20-30-40 years old, and while some have proper backup, thei bottom line of Corporate interests never has the people's HEALTH as their utmost concern.
Another insight is that radiation levels change at different attitudes. So when you are flying in an 747 for any duration of time at say 32K feet, you have a greater chance of higher radiation levels than are reported at the ground level. If you go through AIRPORT scanners, their dose is greater than 1 years worth of radiation. In fact, while they first touted that they were safe...the TSA agents are now reporting higher radiation and the onset of Cancer caused issues. So who is lying to whom, when gadgets sell and profits are being made and the general public and our environment are the eventual pawns and fodder for such insideous money over health & well-being practices. Pretty soon TSA agents will be like nuclear power plant workers, being tested for RAD levels and then layed off because they've reached their safety limit; but who will tell the frequent flyers they need to be tested.
Radiation damages cellular growth and changes your DNA. It affects your immune system and with the other toxins that are in your environment, you & your family will need to be cautious. Use TUMERic .. cancer & tumors, Cinnamon .. diabetes and while there are a few substances against radiation/be cautious of your liver...and see your doctor before taking iodines. Personally, I like white (christ) light & magentic apple core mediations. Good Luck!

Oct 1, 2011
by Anonymous

Get a Life

WE can call Cali >>>>> Cali if we wana. Take us to court. I thought we had freedom of speach in the US. Being a Vietnam Vet, I believe we can call Cali what ever we wana.

Have a great day folks