Fukushima (Japan) Radiation Information

In response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant emergency in Japan, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working closely with its state and federal partners, including the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX, and the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). CDPH has responded to numerous requests for information surrounding the safety of California residents from past and current incidents at the Japanese plant. Information from state and federal agencies, including the NRC, indicate that Japan's nuclear power plant emergency presents no danger to California. To date, CDPH’s sampling results indicate that there are no health and safety concerns to California residents.

The CDPH Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) maintains monitoring stations throughout California used to conduct routine air monitoring for radiation. In response to the Japanese nuclear incident of March 2011, RHB increased the frequency of its routine air monitoring program for six weeks beginning mid-March 2011 - link to results below.

Click here for the results of RHB's radiation monitoring related to Fukushima. Please note: RHB detected only trace amounts of radiation attributable to the Japanese incident in 2011, well below levels of health concern.

RHB resumed its routine weekly air sampling program at the end of April 2011 and continues that routine monitoring along with periodic milk and other types of sampling - link to results below.

Click here for the results of RHB's ongoing routine radiation monitoring program.

All of us are exposed to radiation every day, both from natural sources such as rocks and minerals in the ground and man-made sources such as medical x-rays. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, the average annual radiation dose per person in the United State is 620 mrem from natural and man-made sources. For example, an airline flight from Los Angeles to Chicago would result in a radiation dose of about 2-3 mrem.

As a follow-up to the Japanese incident, RHB may occasionally post additional information and data specific to the Fukushima response on this page.

January 2014

CDPH recently responded to reports of elevated radioactivity readings on California's beaches in the vicinity of Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. Preliminary data indicates the elevated radioactivity is due to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), not Fukushima-related activities. The NORM on the beaches is not a public health and safety concern. CDPH's final report on its investigation will be posted on this page within the next few weeks.

Click here for the preliminary results statement.