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Japan radiation updates: Americans not at risk

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Japan radiation updates: Americans not at risk

Jorge Hernandez April 6, 2011

After a harrowing weekend of radiation concerns, in which water was leaking from a damaged water plant into the Pacific, releasing enormous amounts of radiation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Americans were not at risk, according to a CNN report.

Sea water near one of the reactors affected by the March 11 Japanese earthquake reached radiation levels between 5 million and 7.5 million times the legal limit.

The cause was a 8-inch long crack at one of the turbine buildings at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The crack has since been plugged, although efforts to control the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on nuclear plants and radiation emissions continue.

"Is it completely stopped? Are there any other areas where [radioactive] water is being released? We cannot be optimistic, just because we were able to plug this one," said Yukio Edano, the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, according to the news source.

In a separate CNN report, CDC and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials said that they were actively monitoring air, food and water for possible contamination.

"We do not expect radiation to reach problematic levels [in the U.S.]," said CDC Director Thomas Friedan.

As for possible pills and supplements that the public could take in order to minimize the effects of radiation, potassium iodide pills can help protect the thyroid gland for those living in close proximity to a damaged nuclear plant.

According to Friedan, these pills have side effects and while they are part of the consideration for "the broader strategy," there is no current need for taking supplements in the U.S.

A scientist at the FDA, Patricia Hansen, discredited the use of any devices or pills as a "silver bullet" that could prevent all radiation harms, according to the CNN report.