Amount of radiation in 3 gallons of milk from Hilo, Hawaii surpasses annual maximum contaminant level set by EPA

Published: April 11th, 2011 at 5:23 pm ET


Comments from EPA: New Radiation Highs in Little Rock Milk, Philadelphia Drinking Water, Forbes blog of Jeff McMahon, April 11, 2011:

Jeff McMahon

… EPA lumps these gamma and beta emitters together under one collective MCL, so if you’re seeing cesium-137 in your milk or water, the MCL [Maximum Contaminant Level] is 3.0 picocuries per liter; if you’re seeing iodine-131, the MCL is 3.0; if you’re seeing cesium-137 and iodine-131, the MCL is still 3.0.

Here’s a somewhat historic EPA document that speaks directly to that issue:

Although not having a 4 mrem per year equivalent level specified in the current drinking water regulations as do tritium and strontium-90, the compliance monitoring scheme indicates that an iodine-131 level of 3 pCi/L is the MCL compliance level (presumably derived from the NBS Handbook); the ANPRM indicates that 700 pCi/L is the 4 mrem/year equivalent.

If we lump together the three radionuclides in that Hilo, Hawaii reading, we get 61 pCi/L.  …

[P]eople should not be exposed to more than 4 millirem per year. To make sense of that number we need to be able to express picocuries as millirems, but that’s what that legacy document does that I quoted above:

“the compliance monitoring scheme indicates that an iodine-131 level of 3 pCi/L is the MCL compliance level; the ANPRM indicates that 700 pCi/L is the 4 mrem/year equivalent.”

What this all means to me is that if you’re a water company, EPA will insist you keep the gamma/beta emitters in your water below 3 pCi/L in pursuit of another aim, which is to keep your customers’ annual radiation exposure below 700, or, put another way, below 4mrem, over the course of a year.

If we should not be exposed to more than 700 pCi/L per year, then anyone who drinks two liters of Boise rainwater or 13 liters of Hilo milk is in trouble. Both those scenarios may be unlikely, but they’re beginning to get closer to likely than the reassurances we’ve been receiving would seem to indicate.

Read McMahon’s comments here.

Note: It actually takes less than 12 liters of milk to reach the EPA’s MCL, not 13 as McMahon states. An annual MCL of 700 pCi/l divided by the 61 pCi/l of cesium and iodine found in Hilo’s milk equals 11.475 liters. There are 33.8 ounces in a liter, multiply that by 11.475 liters and it equals 388 ounces, or 3.03 gallons.

Published: April 11th, 2011 at 5:23 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Cesium and iodine both at least 600% above EPA’s maximum contaminant level in Hawaii milk April 11, 2011
  2. San Francisco Bay Area milk sample has highest amount of Cesium-137 since last June — Almost double EPA’s maximum contaminant level April 10, 2012
  3. Top Hawaii health official calls out Forbes’ journalist for reporting Hilo milk exceeds EPA radiation level… then admits he is “technically correct” April 12, 2011
  4. Radioactive cesium in San Francisco Bay Area milk close to exceeding EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level August 29, 2011
  5. Arkansas milk 300% above EPA’s maximum contaminant level for radioactive iodine-131… 11 days ago April 10, 2011

45 comments to Amount of radiation in 3 gallons of milk from Hilo, Hawaii surpasses annual maximum contaminant level set by EPA

  • Slick Vick

    And slowly but surely, the truth begins to leak out… I give it two weeks before they begin to admit that Plutonium and Uranium are also appearing in milk – at which point they will MANDATE that the only foods which are safe to consume are pure GMO’s.. Welcome to hell.

    • Trudy Johnson

      “Pure GMOs” require water and soil just like non-GMO foods. The companies that produce GMO foods do not have access to an untainted water and soil supply. Therefore they would also be contaminated by Fukushima radiation. So exactly what are our alternatives?

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Watch to the end, it gives some good advice.
    Hopefully, we won’t need to do this.

  • xdrfox

    Many of us already knew these things would come about, and more is on the way !

  • Noah

    How the 311 event will effect life.

    List of all products that use milk in their ingredients. The most important is ice cream, followed by cookies, followed by cakes and pies. That information alone makes men want to cry out in pain. A life without ice-cream is an unthinkable scenario, unimaginable and devastating. I am having an emotional meltdown into my containment cone. What will birthday parties be like in the future?

  • billyedtimmy

    “…or 13 liters of Hilo milk is in trouble. Both those scenarios may be unlikely, but they’re beginning to get closer to likely than the reassurances we’ve been receiving would seem to indicate.”

    How is drinking 13 litres of Hilo milk ‘unlikely’?? Most families on the east coast of the big island probably go through that much milk in a month, easily.

  • Glowing potato

    Milk, it gives you Strontium bones.

  • Don'tWanttoGlowintheDark!

    Actually, you might want to stock up on icecream now, while you can safely. Hopefully, it will contain milk and processing that took over three weeks to get to the freezer of your local mart?…and it keeps in a freezer for some time… Or maybe you could wait out the half-life for radioactive iodine???

    Yes, life as we know it is changing. HUNKER DOWN IN YOUR BUNKER.

  • bob

    As I flip through channels on tv, hoping to catch a glimpse of real, informative, news on this………..nothing. not at state level, nor fed.

    If the weathermen can tell us that the nw corner of 8th and Ash will have wind gusts of 6.37 mph at 62.4 degrees, while the se corner will be 62.376 degrees with gusts of 6.366 mph, should I believe they can’t inform us what the rad levels of each batch of milk per each dairyby now?

    Anyone know of sites that give this info in Phoenix?

  • I thought all the milk daries closed down and it was imported in from the mainland?

  • Moniker

    Why has no milk been tested in Boise Idaho, one of the highest rainwater fallout areas? Idaho is the birthplace of nuclear power reactors and should have the necessary equipment. If the EPA is too lazy, the state or NRC should get moving.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    If you keep milk for 8 days without touching it, is it safe and without these fallout particles?

    • xdrfox

      No it is the half life of 8 days.

      8 days. Not Exactly correct:
      half-life =
      “half-life” would be: 50% in 8 days, 25% in 16 days, 12.5% in 24 days, 6.25% in 32 days, 3.125% in 40 days, 1.5625% in 48 days, .78125 in 56 days – so, in two months it’s down to about 1%. But, if each day the source of radioactive iodine is renewed, then in a very short time there will be radiation as it gets built up faster than it depletes, and so would other bad isotope’s with longer half-lifes!

      Do Not to drink the milk and water !

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi xdrfox

        Ok I won’t drink milk or eat any of that other good stuff that goes with it, at least for awhile.

        I did get some eggs, cheese and flour burritos.

        Do you know how many things are made with milk?!

        If milk is bad then what about the beef?
        What the heck are we supposed to eat?

        I will drink bottle water as long as I can.

        I wish they would stop these Plumes!!!!

        Can they evacuate the people and then sink it, the water is already polluted.

        This better be over soon, at least I’m hoping it will be.

        A new life style does not exactly sound like fun.

        Get heavy plastic, duct tape for doors and windows incase it is needed.
        Get more food, bottle water, green tea.
        Get masks.
        Get more dog food
        Get a radio/batteries.
        Try to find Potassium Iodide,
        Get baking soda to help detoxify.
        There goes the rent money

        Don’t drink the milk.
        No tap or rain water to drink.
        Stay out of the rain.
        No leafy vegetables.

        Anything else this old lady might need,
        or not do?
        or should do?

        Can I scream now?
        Heck.. I can’t even scream for ice cream

    • xdrfox

      But then you still have the others….

      Gross alpha, beta, Uranium Radium

      Gross alpha

      Alpha particles are a type of ionizing radiation ejected by the nuclei of some unstable atoms. They are typically emitted from the elements uranium, radium, plutonium and thorium. The MCLG (federally recognized public health goal) for alpha particles is ZERO, however the legal limit (MCL) is set at 15 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). The EPA instructs water systems to “subtract” uranium from its “gross alpha” readings before they ae reported to you on an annual water quality report. This searchable database includes all results where Gross Alpha was reported in excess of 3.00 pCi/L

      Gross beta

      Beta particles are another form of ionizing radiation. They are smaller in size than alpha particles but can penetrate deeper into the body if consumed. The EPA says, “It is their excess energy, in the form of speed, that causes harm to living cells. When transferred, this energy can break chemical bonds and form ions.” Some examples of the different types of elements that give off beta particles are strontium-90 and tritium. The federally recognized public health goal (MCLG) for beta particles is zero. However, the legal limit (MCL) is set at 50 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). This searchable database includes all results where gross beta was reported inexcess of 4.00 pCi/L.


      Uranium is a naturally-occurring radioactive element and can be enriched to make nuclear weapons. All uranium isotopes are radioactive. The main use of uranium in the civilian sector is to fuel
      commercial nuclear power plants, where fuel is typically enriched.
      People who live near federal government facilities that made or tested nuclear weapons, or facilities that mine or process uranium ore or enrich uranium for reactor fuel, may have increased exposure to uranium. The EPA states, “Since uranium tends to concentrate in specific locations in the body, risk of cancer of the bone, liver cancer, and blood diseases (such as leukemia) are increased.
      Inhaled uranium increases the risk of lung cancer.” Uranium is also toxic to the kidneys, as it’s also considered a toxic metal. The federally recognized public health goal (MCLG) for uranium is zero. However, the legal limit (MCL) is set at 30 mg/L (micrograms per liter).


      Radium is a naturally-occurring radioactive metal. Its most common isotopes are radium-226, radium 224 and radium-228. Radium is a radionuclide formed by the decay of uranium and thorium in the environment. The EPA does not currently test for radium 224. The federally recognized public health goal (MCLG) for radium is zero. However, the legal limit (MCL) for all types of radium “combined” is set at 5 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).
      The alpha radiation from radium is included in the gross alpha reading as described above.
      This searchable database includes all results where radium 228 was measured in excess of 1.00 pCi/L.

      Facts you should know

      The above is a TCEQ database of every raw radiation test result for every water system in Texas, dating back to 2004. However, KHOU-TV has discovered that for decades the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has under-reported many of these radiation readings to utilities and their communities. This under-reporting took place for all radioactive contaminants in drinking water (known as radionuclides) and did not stop until 2009, after an EPA audit. Hence, the above raw readings may not match those found in the annual water quality report, called a Consumer Confidence Report, you receive from your water company.

      In addition, you may actually have more alpha activity….

    • xdrfox

      Haven’t you been reading any of my links for 3 weeks ??????

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi xdrfox

        That chemical stuff goes over my head.

        All I know is:
        No radiation is safe
        We have these plumes, this is not good.
        Don’t drink the milk.(was hoping if it sat awhile it would be good)
        No tap or rain water to drink.
        Stay out of the rain.
        No leafy vegetables.

        And my husband laughs at me when I tell him this.

        Then he goes outside and plants a garden, that will probably end up being contaminated.

        He believes that the yellow stuff on the grill that’s outside, is pollen.

        Who knows what that is, don’t take a chance. I’m guessing it’s from the plumes.

        Not only am I going to scream, I’m going to tear my hair out.

  • lori

    ^^ NO NO NO
    at least 80 (some say 100) days – 8 days is the HALF LIFE.

    • xdrfox

      everyone is drinking the FDA Koolaid !

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi xdrfox

        Just coffee, tea, pop, and bottled tap water and no milk 😉

        Oh shoot… got to check my sugar free vanilla coffee mate creamer

        This is not easy

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi Lori

      Milk is not going to last that long in the refigerator. Thanks anyway.

      • Moco

        Buy organic milk it last over a month most times I buy it.
        And no adults need milk in their diet anyway. Otherwise you would be still sucking on momma’s tits.
        My dog and cat drank from their momma’s titties, and they don’t need it, now.
        Humans need milk? NO, no and more no.
        And why do they show this against the milk industry? I wonder that new development. Too coincidental for me.
        We all must watch against the disinformationist and use a little common sense.

      • xdrfox

        Go with the Powered Milk !

  • 67Mopar

    Well, it looks like no more dairy products for me… : – (

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi 67Mopar,

      Or for any of us.

      Anyone up for a road trip to Argentina?
      We could visit the top guy of Tepco.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    All I can say is:

    This better be over well before Sept
    I want cake with candles that will look like a torch and ice cream for my 60th Birthday.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    All kidding aside..I do know this is serious and many lives have already been lost and there’s more to come.

  • Russell Grisham

    We cannot trust the Japanese government, nor the American government, nor any other government, indeed, there is no good government anywhere in the world.

    The best place to place our trust is God.

    The only place to learn and understand about God is the 5000 year old Vedic literatures from India. The Bhagavad-gita is a scripture wherein God explanes Himself. In the Sanskrit language God is called Krishna.

    The world, and everyone in it is in deep trouble. The answer is to chant the holy names via The Maha Mantra..

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

    Read the Vedic literature as translated by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and then the people of the world will have a remedy for solving most of their problems. The problems of birth, death, old age and disease. This world is like a prison, or a place for lunatic’s.

    It is only when we chant the Lord’s holy names that we can be released from this bondage to return to the spiritual world. A place where there is no birth, death, old age and diseases caused by karmic reactions, or nuclear meltdowns.

    It is the only way, the only way, the only way!

  • mika

    if this is in the milk….then it must be in my catchment tank, my lettuce, my fruit trees, my beef, my lamb, my eggs. Wow can people read between the lines. I like my thyroid so I am moving>

  • anon

    It’s in the fish.
    When are we going to talk about the japanese fishing industry?

  • Cindy

    We live on the Hilo side of the Big Island,
    And we live directly off of a Rainwater catchment system…
    For 70,000 households there is no county water, it’s all rain..

    No one is monitoring that !!!

    OMG !!!

    • xdrfox

      It most likely is being monitored but (under cover of law, Just like beach water reports) they “do not have to release the reports of results to the public” !