The Oregon Public Health Division and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to track levels of radiation linked to the tsunami and nuclear power plant event in Japan. There is no public health risk due to the trace levels of radiation from Japan.
Even before the 2011 Japan Event occurred, the Oregon Public Health Division has had an ongoing environmental sampling program in place. Radiation Protection Services (RPS) evaluates water at a standard environmental sampling frequency. Rain water is collected continually and shipped to the EPA for analysis. Drinking water is collected and analyzed quarterly.
These analyses continually show normal background levels of radiation. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation levels would have to be hundreds of thousands of times higher before Oregonians need to take any protective actions.
Beginning in April 2012, in light of the potential landfall of Japan Tsunami marine debris along the Oregon coast, OPH and RPS began enhanced sampling activity of surf water, sand from the high tide line and drinking water from three locations along the Oregon coast.
In March 2013, RPS performed a scientific review that included 12 months worth of data obtained from the coastal sample analyses. The results of the review show that it is highly unlikely that Japan tsunami marine debris presents a radiation public health risk.
Based on the review of the data collected to date, effective April 2013, RPS has changed it sampling protocol to quarterly. RPS will continue to work with the Beach Rangers and the Department of Parks and Recreation to collect samples and will continue to post the results on our website. If RPS does identify an increase of activity from any of the collected samples, it will increase the sampling frequency to ensure the safety of our beaches and the health of the citizens of the state of Oregon.