Top Hawaii health official calls out Forbes’ journalist for reporting Hilo milk exceeds EPA radiation level… then admits he is “technically correct”

Published: April 12th, 2011 at 6:25 pm ET


Traces of radiation found in isle milk, Honolulu Star Advertiser, April 12, 2011:

[Emphasis Added]

… [Lynn Naka­sone, administrator of Hawaii’s Health Department’s Environmental Health Services Division] also took some issue with postings by Forbes blogger Jeff McMahon — which have circulated on the Internet — in which McMahon referenced a separate radiation measurement for milk that Hawaii officials said was extrapolated from EPA water radiation limits.

McMahon states, and EPA officials confirmed, that the EPA’s “maximum contaminant level” for iodine-131 is 3 picocuries per liter. … Hilo sample was… 18 picocuries.

What McMahon reported is “technically correct,” Naka­sone said.

“The limits for water as derived by the EPA are totally different from how it’s derived through the FDA,” Naka­sone said. “The EPA is saying (their limit) is over a 70-year period, whereas FDA is more of a short-term duration.” …

Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokes­woman, confirmed there are differences in the EPA and FDA radiation measurements in any given food.

Read the report here.

McMahon wrote on April 11, 2011:

[N]ote that the FDA’s standard for iodine-131 in milk is much, much higher than the EPA’s maximum contamination level, based on the assumption that the milk consumption will be short-term. The pertinent update:

The FDA’s Derived Intervention Level for iodine-131 in milk is 4700 picoCuries per liter. The EPA’s MCL for iodine-131 is 3 picoCuries per liter.

“There are a few reasons that EPA’s MCL for I-131 drinking water is different than FDA’s DIL for I-131 in any given food,” said FDA spokesman Siobhan Delancy by email. “One of them is that EPA assumes a 70 year time period for exposure, so the MCLs are basically for continual, ongoing intake. They are meant to be as low as reasonably achievable while the DILs are meant to assure that no one will reach a specific dose that would warrant protective actions as a result of an event.” …

It’s interesting that FDA goes for 4,700 as an incident dose when EPA goes for 700 as an annual dose… and that EPA does milk testing but FDA does milk decision making. …

When it comes to milk… people should be fully informed, and since the government will not
intervene at these levels, they have to make a personal choice.

Read McMahon’s comment here.

See more of McMahon’s reports on radiation levels in the US here.

Published: April 12th, 2011 at 6:25 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Amount of radiation in 3 gallons of milk from Hilo, Hawaii surpasses annual maximum contaminant level set by EPA April 11, 2011
  2. Cesium and iodine both at least 600% above EPA’s maximum contaminant level in Hawaii milk April 11, 2011
  3. Phoenix milk sample exceeds EPA’s maximum contaminant level for radioactive iodine-131 April 9, 2011
  4. Cesium-137 levels in Vermont milk at 66% of maximum contaminant level allowed by EPA April 9, 2011
  5. Arkansas milk 300% above EPA’s maximum contaminant level for radioactive iodine-131… 11 days ago April 10, 2011

27 comments to Top Hawaii health official calls out Forbes’ journalist for reporting Hilo milk exceeds EPA radiation level… then admits he is “technically correct”

  • xdrfox

    March 30 ! What do the latest test read ?

  • Noah

    Living in a post-311 world

    It is a fact: There is no “safe levels” of ingested radioactive particles.

    Just as there are no safe levels of asbestos. EPA and FDA standards are intervention thresholds, where the levels of contamination rise so high above zero it cannot be tolerated any longer by a average adult male, age 21, 5′ 9″, 170 lbs. who is in excellent health who will live to age 70. Persons smaller and shorter than this average are not factored in, the smaller the more danger. Fetus being the smallest person.

    These EPA and FDA standards are not to be applied to ones own children and family! It was never intended to be a health standard.
    The radiological contaminate baseline health standard is zero incident dose.

    • xdrfox

      I just want to see if the levels are rising, these reports are 10 days old, it takes 5 days to get results from according to FDA, so were are the last and newest test ?
      April 5th, passed… now Apr. 10th will be due in a few days, But perhaps they are not doing any more or releasing any more results is what I suspect !

  • xdrfox

    If anyone lives in Hiwai I hope the only Moo Moo’s you see are on the wemen !

  • Lee Binder

    If you go to and in the top right type HI, hit Enter, you will get ALL current data for HI.

    Same goes for Oahu, CA, Kauai etc.

  • xdrfox

    HILO 4/4/2011
    milk 18 I-133
    milk 24 cs134
    milk 19 cs137

  • Dr.J.

    But where does the milk come from, certainly not local dairy cattle in Hilo! A lot of milk is actually imported from the mainland. So what does that say about the where the radiation is?

    • xdrfox

      The people would need to check the labels, a friend in AZ, her milk comes from Ca. didn’t realize till I asked.

  • xdrfox

    It should be in every news paper and news broadcast !

  • Dr.J.


    Natural radiation is all around us. We get exposed to more at high altitude – cosmic rays for instance.

    • Glowing potato

      Why don’t you eat a cosmic ray and live with it in your body for the rest of your life. How come every pro nuke shill I see on forums has a fake name that starts with DR.

  • moonlightlady in hilo, hi

    Here on the east side of the Big island (Hilo side) there is the Big Island Dairy Cooperative, whose members include Cloverleaf Dairy, Island Dairy, Ruis Enterprise and S&S Dairy.
    Since we do not buy non-organic milk and none of these local dairy farms produce organic milk, the milk and cheese products we eat come from the mainland. I have no doubt that the grass feeding mainland organic milk cows will be contaminated along with the grass that feeds non-organic cows at some point soon.
    We will have to turn to soy, rice or almond milk, which may, in time, be contaminated as well.
    People are delusional in the extreme to believe that the nuclear catastrophe in Japan will not profoundly affect them.

  • Ian

    The Japanese are goons. I drink milk and eat cheese everyday. I love it. I don’t live in Hawaii yet I will have to switch to other foods until the radiation goes down. I knew this situation was much worse than the Japanese reported. Unfortunately, American and International media didn’t want to embarass the Japanese by asking tough questions and revealing the truth.

  • Glowing potato

    The ad at the top of the page is for a vacation to Hawaii. LOL, Just don’t drink the milk there. Oh wait I live in the western U.S. F*#CK!!!!!!!!!!!

    • xdrfox

      Computer program “BOTs” automatically scan page “HEADERS” for “Search words” word and place add of similar words for target sales !
      Here the word it simulated was most likely “Hawaii” !


    Radioactive strontium detected outside 30km zone

    The ministry has been monitoring the level of radioactive substances in soil and weeds in Fukushima Prefecture. It found 3.3 to 32 becquerels of strontium 90 per kilogram of soil in samples taken from 3 locations in Namie Town and Iitate Village, 30 kilometers from the plant. An extremely small amount of strontium was also found in plants taken from Motomiya City, Ono Town and Otama and Nishigo Villages. The areas are 40 to 80 kilometers from the Fukushima plant. Strontium 90 has a half-life of 29 years. It tends to accumulate in bones and could cause cancer.

    • xdrfox

      They need to look at the roots and check too, this is why they took the whole plants, if it is the roots, it may be in the ground waters. The reactors are leaking into the aquifer and spreading rapidly underground !

  • Nice post I like it…. I want to share it with my facebook friends… how I can do that?

    • Elaine

      copy the link, above (from browser address bar)….go to home page….then paste the link…attach….share

  • 67Mopar

    I wonder if drinking radioactive milk will turn me into “The Amazing Milkman”?

  • moonlightlady in hilo, hi

    Our Hilo local paper, the Hawaii Tribune Herald, finally printed this story with a banner headline this morning. Always a day late and a dollar short, our fearless journalists.

  • Thomas Wells

    We are all getting fukushimaed.

  • chargirl

    The FDA’s “Derived Intervention Levels” (DILs) for foods are NOT safety standards, and therefore should not be used as one by the FDA, EPA, or media or relied upon by citizens as safety guidelines.

    The FDA warns that its DILs are not health safety standards. See their FAQ re Fukushima, in which the FDA states that the DILs “do not define a safe or unsafe level of exposure.”

    Since Jeff McMahon has been following the limited data produced by EPA over at his Forbes blog, I posted about this issue there. I analysed the FDAs statements about their DILs, gave some hypotheses as to why they exist, if they are not health & safety standards, and explained why I believe our federal government agencies (EPA, FDA) and the media’s attempt to rely on them as public health standards in dealing with the fallout from Fukushima is severely misplaced, if it is being done in good faith.

  • RadGirl

    chargirl, you are seriously misinformed DILs are definitely health-based standards. They are derived from figuring out the amount of something you could drink/eat based on a dose that could be dangerous to your health. “The DILs are concentrations in food which, if ingested, could lead to an individual receiving a dose equal to the Protective Action Guideline (PAG).”

    It is VERY understandable that we should have stricter standards for water (MCL limits via EPA) since we ingest and use water MUCH MORE than we drink milk. It is highly misleading and inflammatory, bordering on fear-spreading, to claim danger to health when comparing milk I-131 level to water MCL limits.

  • Glad to see this information.its very interesting.I would like to hear more information from your side.

    Hearing aid accessories