Radioactive Iodine-131 in rainwater sample near San Francisco 18,000% above federal drinking water standard

Published: March 31st, 2011 at 6:33 pm ET


UPDATE: NY Times contributor confirms California rainwater 181 times above drinking water standards for radioactive iodine-131

UPDATE II: Nuclear policy expert: “Striking” that radioactive iodine-131 in California rainwater is so far above level permitted in drinking water

UCB Rain Water Sampling Results, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Nuclear Engineering:

Iodine-131 level in rainwater sample taken on the roof of Etcheverry Hall on UC Berkeley campus, March 23, 2011 from 9:06-18:00 PDT

20.1 Becquerel per liter (Bq/L) = 543 Picocuries per liter (pCi/L) — Conversion calculator here.

The federal drinking water standard for Iodine-131 is 3 pCi/L. (Press Release)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for Iodine, CDC, April 2004:

EPA has set an average annual drinking water limit of 3 pCi/L for Iodine-131 so the public radiation dose will not exceed 4 millirem

UCB Rain Water Sampling Results here.

UCB Rain Water Sampling Results

See also: Comparisons with X-rays and CT scans “meaningless” — Inhaling particles increases radiation exposure by “a factor of a trillion” says expert

Published: March 31st, 2011 at 6:33 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Radioactive Iodine-131 in Pennsylvania rainwater sample over 3,000% of federal drinking water standard March 29, 2011
  2. EPA: Radioactive Iodine-131 levels in PA & MA rainwater “exceed maximum contaminant level permitted in drinking water” March 29, 2011
  3. Nuclear policy expert: “Striking” that radioactive iodine-131 in California rainwater is so far above level permitted in drinking water April 2, 2011
  4. NY Times contributor confirms California rainwater 181 times above drinking water standards for radioactive iodine-131 April 2, 2011
  5. Vancouver, Canada radiation tests show iodine-131 in rainwater at almost 100 times above US drinking water limit April 8, 2011

94 comments to Radioactive Iodine-131 in rainwater sample near San Francisco 18,000% above federal drinking water standard

  • Sally

    20 becquerels per litre is a very small amount. 37,000,000 = 1 curie. The amount of iodine emitting 20 becequerels of radiation is microscopic probably less than 0.1 microgram so taking iodine tablets is not going to help prevent it from getting to the thyroid gland.

  • Sally

    What is more important is how much iodine 131 causes harm not the legal limit. Perhaps someone knows.

  • cloudy mac

    So, is it 18,100% or 181 times too much radiation in the water? Both figures appear in the article.

    • xdrfox

      It’s 181 times over the limit of max 100 making it 18,100% over guidlines. Move the decimal.


  • Janina

    Are you all insane? How do you think anything coming from Japan can maintain high concentration either in water or air? It has to travel thousands of miles through huge masses of fluids – there is no way you can detect it. If you do–it means you transportd it and put it there, or you have no clue how to measure it, or you lie.
    Soon we will have thousands of ‘sick’ people in US hospitals –later in courts–whereas the Japanese will go on with their lives.

    • k

      30 years half life, thats 300 years for 10 hl… hmmm ye we all know people should stfu and eat their CS-137 with a happy face.

  • Bemused

    I think the rather amusing thing is that people are looking at these incidents of disaster and then claiming we should shut down all nuclear plants.

    Nuclear power, over all, is still the safest and cleanest power available. Especially given breeder reactors which further break down waste and reduce the danger of long time storage by reducing the amount that would need to be stored.

    Take the global statistics for vehicular manslaughter. All forms of it. Intentional, drunk driving, accidental etc. That number will be higher by many times than the number of people killed, contaminated significantly (more than a chest x-ray’s exposure), or made sick in long term scenarios. Yet no one calls for us to get rid of cars. Cars are far too useful.

    I think the paranoia regarding radiation isn’t helped by conspiracy theorists and individuals who are so biased against any opinion but their own they assume they’re working for their opponents or an agent of the illuminati or whatever paranoid delusion they have.

    Healthy skepticism is a -good- thing. Sure, investigate, search, find out about radiation levels, what’s deadly etc. But people keep forgetting that most radiation to be harmful, even if ingested, in anything but the extreme long term, requires millions and even potentially billions times normal exposure.

    I’m not saying that a little exposure is incapable of it. But everyone here is freaking out and claiming that they know for a fact, without any reasonable doubt that it will. There’s even calls of violence saying we should murder people, never pointing at who, in knee-jerk reactionary anger that will do nothing productive.

    Also, rain water itself may contain levels of radiation. However, before you ingest it the stuff is filtered and processed. That will lower radiation levels over time if by nothing else than the time it takes for it to get to a processing facility and then eventually disseminated into water lines.

    • k

      take a ike ffs(for fucking sake). let us properly panic pls… you comming with the same all conversation, 1000 years would already be too much for uranium half life

    • stockdude

      A few more of these accidents and the average life expectancy for humans will be 30 years, got it? Humans can’t be trusted with nuclear.

      Any internal transmitter can cause cancer. Cesium last for 30 year half life, duh, what bull are you buying into?

  • Barbara

    Has anyone noticed that the March 23 reading of 20.1 Bq/L has a figure next to it in parenthesis, of (134)? According to the U of Berkeley, this figure represents how many liters of that particular water one would have to drink to equal the amount of radiation received on a round trip plane from SF to DC; this really is confusing…

  • End Of TIME

    Most of the Planet If not all is DEAD. The government shut off the radiation detectors in Canada And The USA So we don’t know what is coming at us while they go underground. Spend time with your family, and your loved ones, your children and grand children. Cause this is the End of our lives, for the whole humanity is being wiped out as we speak. Next they will shut down the internet,to make sure clam is instilled in everyone.Then up rising, and riots and killing, and marshal law will soon be imposed. Good Bye Humanity ..

  • Eric Z

    Here is a link to a site that has
    radioactive iodine readings in rainwater for many US cities:
    Precipitation RadNet Laboratory Analysis

  • Diane

    Someone asked if there was a rally. I don’t know where that person lives, but there is a no nuke rally is San Francisco on Sunday. Look on the KPFA website.

  • k

    NOW lets not forget GE made them. with some nice wharehouse on top… great design to save space and money

  • A

    Paranoid bullshit on this page. Suckered by spin media; they make money by creating sensationalist headlines to get lots of traffic and sell advertising. There it is, right under the headline. The more viral fear and shit they can stir, the more money they make. Go to the UC Berkeley’s actual site and look at the graphs. The levels of radiation being received by California are so low that you would have to drink hundreds of liters of this water to get the same amount of radiation as you would on a transcontinental flight. Don’t panic.

    • Lee in Kansas City

      It’s unfortunate that “radiation dose” charts are used for self-calming in regard to the Fukushima disaster. Such linear charts are wrong (mixing measurements which are hardly equal), and are also misleading. Hence, it’s wise to disregard them, for reasons which include the following:

      a.) The charts make no distinction between “short-term external exposure” and “ingested radiation” (despite there being a world of difference between the two). That it, they’ll cite measurements of short-term exposure from an external source (such exposure during an airplane flight), but will then compare that to food ingestion measurements (such as eating bananas), thus implying the two exposures are equivalent. They are not. Ingested radiation is thousands of times more serious than an external exposure equivalent, because the radiation is dangerously close to the organs, and also because the effects endure as long as the radiation is active.

      In addition, the radioactivity of a food like a banana on a chart refers to natural earth radiation (rather than to Fukushima fall-out). Gosh, those were the good old days. Within a year, radiation will cover the southern hemisphere, just as it’s already covered the northern hemisphere. How to keep bananas (all foods) free of Fukushima radiation is becoming the world’s great question.

      b.) The charts don’t measure bio-accumulation of radiation (the total exposure which determines cumulative health effects). Because the charts are vertical (charting lowest exposure to highest), the charts mask the effects of continuous low dose exposure. For example, continuous low-dose exposure to Iodine-131 can destroy the thyroid gland’s function. The Petkau Effect indicates that “A long term exposure of extremely low radiation (i.e., one-ten millionth of a rad per minute) was found to be 100 BILLION times MORE lethal than a short term exposure to exceedingly high level radiation (i.e., 10,000 rads per minute).
      We’re now facing continuous low exposure (via water and food), which increases bio-accumulation. Due to bio-accumulation, every exposure adds to the probability of contracting cancer, but of course, the charts don’t indicate this.

      c.) The charts don’t factor in concentrated levels of food radiation. Because the Fukushima radiation continues to be deposited on earth, radiation levels tend to concentrate inside the food chain.
      The result can be that one serving can end up being unusually radioactive. For example, krill get eaten by small fish, which are eaten by bigger fish, which can then be eaten by us–and at each level, radiation builds and accumulates. Similarly, toxic rainwater is ingested into plants, and cows (who’ve grazed while standing in that same radiation-carrying rainwater) then eat the plants. When we consume cow milk or beef, we’re getting concentrated levels of radiation as accumulated from those sources.

      Regardless of some media reports, there is no safe level of radiation–There-is-no-safe-dose-of-radiation-#comments. News reports which mention the low levels of Iodine-131 and its short life fail to mention the presence of strontium 90, which is bone-seeking (and hence, hard to get rid of) Media reports are also also ominously silent about the presence of plutonium, a deficiency of reporting which Helen Caldicott has questioned. News reports which focus only on the least deadly elements can be deadly to our health:

      Accurate radiation information from Japan is also elusive, due to how the Japanese government has issued an official order to telecommunications companies and web masters to censor reports which contradict the state media reports that the Fukushima nuclear radiation disaster is over.

      For the sake of one’s health, doing one’s own research matters (rather being spoon-fed by the media). For precautionary health measures, Natural News offers some recommendations: