Top Massachusetts health official: Drinking water is ‘pretty safe’ because cities don’t use rainwater as a primary water source

Published: April 22nd, 2011 at 8:16 pm ET


Samples turn up toxins in the air, Boston Herald, April 22, 2011:

The concentration of radioiodine found in the most recent air sample, taken last week, was 0.046 picocuries per cubic meter, down from 0.0552 the previous week, health officials said. […]

“Based on what we’ve seen thus far, there continues to be no public health risks,” said Julia Hurley, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health. “Until the situation in Japan stabilizes, Massachusetts and other states may continue to see slight levels, but we don’t anticipate any concerns for public health.” […]

Because of extensive rainfall, officials collected two rainwater samples the week of April 4, detecting 15 picocuries per liter of radioiodine in one sample and 23 picocuries per liter in the other.

But [Massachusetts Department of] Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach has said drinking-water supplies are “pretty safe” because none of Massachusetts’ cities or towns rely on rainwater as a primary source of water.

Read the report here.

Published: April 22nd, 2011 at 8:16 pm ET


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51 comments to Top Massachusetts health official: Drinking water is ‘pretty safe’ because cities don’t use rainwater as a primary water source

  • Thomas Wells

    There’s a hot rain gonna fall. Sure it won’t get into your drinking water today(unless you have a cistern like many folks in third world countries-or life-styles do)but the rain does get into the lakes,rivers and the ground water. With the longer lived hot stuff that will be around for a while I shouldn’t wonder that it will be in our drinking water in the future.

    • Mothra

      It was in ours, along with cesium. The prudent responsible thing would be to issue a public statement not to drink from collected rain sources or cisterns and to caution people about reducing fallout rain exposure for children and pets.

      • jess

        ALL water is rainwater. Drinking tap water comes from municipal open air reservoirs filled by RAIN WATER!!! Earth ot sheeple??

  • Need More Analysis from Experts

    Interesting that Mass is extremely far from Tokyo and the West Coast, but takes a good hit from the Jet Stream wind pattern on a regular basis!….

    What to make of cities like Philly having such bad readings, while Chicago seems to be in the clear, as such???

    We need much more analysis and when you consider what’s coming down on the West Coast, a little radioactive iodine out East sounds rather tasty!—>:(

    • mr. x

      The same thing happened with Chernobyl. One village got hit with massive amounts and another was clean a few miles away.

    • Veryfrustrated

      Perhaps Chicago is “in the clear” because they haven’t tested the rain water here? I have yet to see any results for Illinois, except for two drinking water tests. They are either not testing, or not reporting the results. I did hear that some grass in IL had tested positive, but then nothing else. If anybody has seen any Milk, precipitation, air, or other drinking water reports, please post a link. It’s been raining like crazy here. makes me wonder how much radiation we’re getting.

      • No, not good!

        I just saw good results for Morris, IL and West Chicago, IL. I thought it ran the general gamut. But those chosen towns certainly don’t fully reflect the living space for about 10 million people in greater Chicago!…

        Baltimore is showing up alright so far as well–? I’d love to have this all figured out…

        And what do you do if you live in parts of Maine, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Kansas, etc.?? I see almost NO testing for large scopes of land!!

        • Mothra

          I find it odd that independent source tests show results when government tests do not. Repeatedly. I don’t feel this is information we should have to claw and scratch around for.

          In more than a few cases, indoor shelter, rain out, food an water advisories should have been issued – especially for children and high risk people. If officials want to abrogate their mandated responsibilities they should resign. Instead, the few who stand up are pressured not to – as in the Canadian official who submits rain to an independent lab and tried to alert his community not to drink rain water. Twilight Zone.

          • No, not good!

            Yes, you’re absolutely right-twilight zone.
            Moreover, I’m troubled that there are no official EPA tests on STRONTIUM! It’s unbelievable, really.
            Apparently, Strontium-90 isotopes have a very long half-life and Strontium-89 isotopes are very prevalent, too. They both automatically come with the fallout package AND they actually are lighter, more prevalent, and more prone to travel than the Radio-Cesiums!!….

            That means it’s definitely getting all over, but NO NOTICE to the public!
            Quote: “Radiostrontiums and plutonium isotopes are very poisonous substances and pose greater long-term health dangers than cesium-137.”
            Strontium causes bone cancer, leukemia, etc.–quickly pulled into your bones and bone marrow.
            This should be on the mandatory shortlist for Govt. testing in every state. Assume you’re dealing with it, I guess!!!

            Excerpt below from:
            See also, “The EPA is Asleep in the Control Tower”

            “April 2, 2011 – Estimating Strontium-90 burdens in U.S. milk”—–

            No one in the world to our knowledge is testing for strontium-90 in milk in this post-3/11 (Fukushima) episode. That is a crime to all children.

            What does strontium-90 do? It behaves just like calcium and where calcium is channeled by the body to help grow ‘healthy bones and teeth,’ so goes the strontium-90.

            Children are in a prolonged state of ‘calcium deficiency.’ They absorb strontium-90 into their growing bones and teeth whenever it is present in their diet. As the strontium unit levels in the diet increases, so does the amount of strontium-90 that incorporates into the skeleton – because the body is fooled into thinking strontium-90 is calcium.

            When in the bone, strontium-90 attacks the bone marrow, a blood-forming organ. That is where red blood and white blood cells are formed. Bombarded by these beta rays, white blood cells can be altered from the constant barrage of radiation and cell aberrations can take the form of mutated ‘T-lymphocytes’ (or T-cells), which are our body’s soldiers on the ‘front lines’ boosting the body’s cellular immune response. Stem cells also originate in the bone marrow (at about 12 weeks in prenatal growth) and give rise to ‘B-lymphocytes’ that give rise to ‘humeral’ antibodies. A weak immune system reduces an individuals ability to fight both cancer and infectious disease. As we know, when a weak person is verbally insulted, their ego is easily damaged. When a weak body is ‘insulted’ by biological ‘curses,’ the body easily falters.

            Can we estimate how much strontium-90 is presently in a liter of U.S. milk? Probably not, or not very well. The best data to make this guesstimate would be (for various reasons) from the early 1950s, but there is scant data from the 1950s on strontium-90 in milk and soil. We can take a guess and, using this chart, estimate that Berkeley area milk is around 13 picocuries per liter of strontium-90 and double that for strontium-89.

            Q: Is this bad?

            A: Yes.

            Q: How do you know?

            A: How do you know it’s not? The U.S. government deliberately failed to study strontium-90 in fallout. They focused on iodine-131 in fallout and never did a proper follow up. More…

            NRC NUREG 1.109 rev. 1 Oct. ’77 gives a conversion factor of 0.0083 millirems to the bone of a teenager from one picocurie of ingested strontium-90.

          • jess

            You find that odd? Cmon now.

    • Mothra

      France’s CRIIRAD issued an advisory for fresh milk, fresh milk cheeses and leafy cruciferous veggies a long time ago – hello, another ocean away. They implied in a French diplomatic way that the US should follow rain advisory protocol being hit 8-10 times harder than they are.

  • sassyiam

    To blave! This is so unbelievably ridiculous. There already WERE health concerns and alerts on the drinking water. “Pretty safe” as compared to what!?The DU in Ayers? Gardner’s radioactive materials, 300 years of lacquer dumping, coloform, heart pills, birth control pills, so much so that the water dept. had a warning for at least heart patients, those immuno-compromised (who isn’t) and those requiring low sodium were advised not to drink it from at least 1998-2004? And Waltham was worse so Boston couldn’t be better. If they obviously can’t filter out the toilet water, thinking they can filter the rainwater by implying it doesn’t land in the reservoirs, is a blatant lie. They already didn’t and don’t meet the Mass DEP’s standards for adequate protection.

    Now, about that ice cream cone …;)

    • Mothra

      Wait one effin minute!

      John Auerbach is an administrator with a background in shoe factory labor organization. He worked in admin for one clinic. Ms. Hurley is a PR media professional.

      Neither are doctors nor are they trained in radiology, oncology or bio-sciences, related fields and/or epidemiology. Just because you have a mouth and a job, doesn’t mean you have any idea what you’re talking about!

      H£ll no! This really p!sses me off.

      • Discordian

        It seems everyone in “authority” is not more than a script-reader now, like our wonderful President.

  • xdrfox

    We are sooooo Screwed !

    People will be fallen over dead on camera behind the Weather man on a Live broadcast and he will be saying,
    Have a Lovely day in this warm sunshine !

    • Bluetek 25

      Thanks, Mothra – Health care administrator and former accountant now in communications? God this is depressing. No, they are not doctors, nor are they much of anything but standard issue bureaucrats.
      I have a question – hope Noah, Mothra or drfox or any of the other very knowledgeable posters here can answer – My backyard has a large hole in the ground filled with H20 and chlorine and various other chemicals. Seems like the Cesium in the rainwater is going to land in my swimming pool and react to the chlorine, this is not good – am I right?

      • Bluetek 25

        Sorry, I meant to ask about Chlorine and I-131.

      • xdrfox

        Reagardless, I would not use for swiming, you will need to get it covered/enclosed !

        Drain clean and refill after you have it covered. PS, is your water source good ?
        If not no need to refill !

      • Mothra

        Yes chlorine gas can carry iodine as an inhalation exposure. Mouth, nose, eye, skin and basically any skin ablation or opening can “ingest” the others in addition. A cover for rain outs and dust will reduce it, but most I’ve seen just allow the rain to roll in and are designed to keep out debris. An ion exchange or RO with pre/post carbon will take it out. An oxygen or saline system is a bacteria alternative to chlorine. Oxygen with above filters would be best. None stop radionuclides like RO and pre/post carbon, but membrane replacement on a body of water that size could be costly. You can have it independently tested before action – it depends on where you live, but these are exposure pathways worth reduction planning.

  • ZombiePlanet

    … “said Julia Hurley”… “Until the situation in Japan stabilizes”…
    I have not seen any “anticipated” date for such, except for a “9 month” hopeful target of stated “ stabilization.”

    Ah, lets see here, … “Massachusetts and other states may continue to see slight levels, but we don’t anticipate”…

    Now how can this be when,

    Commissioner John Auerbach States that “drinking-water supplies are “pretty safe” because none of Massachusetts’ cities or towns rely on rainwater as a primary source of water.”

    He say’s (rain) not the “primary” source of water. So what he say’s is that the “majority” of their water does not come from rain, but has not ruled out that “rain” is a “portion” of their supply. I guess that is what is meant when one say’s “that’s the watered down version.”

    Can anyone shed light on his use of the “pretty safe” aspect of this issue?

    Pretty and safe is even rare in woman. Opps!

    • Mothra

      They should issue an advisory to municipal water authorities not to accept collected rain in the water supply. It only dilutes 10-50 times that way. It’s a long season… The only safe dose is no dose. Otherwise they can filter it at the source, and the flouride and chlorine are special chemical agents adding trouble in this scenario. One binds, the other aerosolizes contaminates. They know this.

      • Noah

        Chlorine and I-131
        Bathing in a post 311 world.

        Mothra states the truth about chlorine.

        Chlorine volatilizes I-131, and allows it to move about. Chlorination of I-131 contaminated drinking water is not a good idea.

        Do not try to clean surfaces contaminated with I-131 with bleach. It will volatilize the I-131. Use “Bind It” to safely remove I-131 from skin and surfaces.

        Try not to bathe in chlorinated I-131 contaminated water. Under the influence of chlorine I-131 will migrate around too easily.

        I-131 is already too easily absorbed directly into the skin, just as any topically applied iodine would. To bathe use water that is carbon pre-filtered and RO purified.

        • Mothra

          RO has a hard time with iodine unless it has pre and post carbon filtration. Ion exchange with carbon is better at iodine – and carbon shower filters are widely available and inexpensive.

    • Mothra

      Admin admin admin

      Media Relations/PR:

      No. Not doctors.

  • Alex

    EPA In Ohio Admits Radiation In Drinking Water Harmful At 3 Picocuries Per Liter

    “Across the nation radioactive iodine has been detected at hundreds of times higher than the 3 picocuries per liter level and the EPA continues to claim the levels detected are safe.

    In a report published today by a local Ohio newspaper, the local EPA official admitted to the paper that Iodine radiation is harmful at 3 Picocuries per liter.”

    • No, not good!

      looks bad for Ohio. They are getting hosed. Plus, it’s a key agriculture state. I have a friend who is pregnant there now… 🙁 I’m not sure about how to tell people about my concerns sometimes. 🙁

      • Mothra

        I felt that way too a month ago. Some people get angry or scared and they lash out or call you names. A rare few will send you GE owned MSM news about how “safe” it is and they’ll debate you (uninformed and wasting your time). The wide majority will appreciate that you care, but feel overwhelmed and wonder what they can do. I say gently: You can do a lot to reduce your exposure. Diet, rest, exercise, hydration and hygiene. It’s flu season anyway and just think of it like a special flu season exposure prevention. Small adjustments may leave them healthier and happier than they would have been before? Then, I provide links to doctor’s study diet choices, water filtration per EPA, and the CRIIRAD and NIRS advisories. I find out what their favorite foods are and help them plan the same menu or make a shopping list. I give them low cost and non-disruptive tips depending on their area and lifestyle. Example: S. California wet sheet on an open window for fresh indoor home air exchange. Hepa dusting. Reduce rain out exposure and evaporation period after. Leave rain gear and shoes at the door. Consider indoor/outdoor clothes. Rinsing shower in the evening. Stay on top of laundry. Most just call to commiserate that the school won’t stop jamming milk and junk food down their kid’s throat despite requests, or they’ve been required to provide a doctor’s note so junior doesn’t have to suck down radioactive iodine and cesium milk.

        • No, not good!

          Thanks, Mothra. I really care about a lot of people who are being affected…so much can be totally prevented and must be done right away!! But, it’s hard to break the news. I have taken some flak…Then later it will be, can you help me? My daughter is in the hospital?, etc. Drives me crazy!! 😛

          • Mothra

            It’s the oxygen mask priority principle. You secure your oxygen first, then children and family, then lend assistance to others where possible. This is unwelcomed news, so I don’t take other’s psychological need for denial personally. Also, most of the time I can’t blame them – change can be scary, there’s not much official affirming mass news, precaution is largely a citizen movement bureaucracy fights because of expense and inconvenience, plus it’s not an explosion they can see on TV to get their minds around. I’m human too – info curves and “getting it” early feels isolating at first, mostly you hope the denial set is right and you are a total nutter despite history and science. Mortality issues are charged, but I really believe in hopefully surviving and looking back on these days, you’ll remember what you did to assist ethically, civically and not the labels. That one infant you spared from a dose of fallout won’t thank you, or know per say, but you will. You’ll say. “I did my best, I cared and I tried despite some odds.” When the Congressional hearings roll years from now, you’ll know. If it matters, I’m deeply proud of you. You have intense bravery and gifts that make you tremedously valuable, no matter what’s befalling. Gold heart, platinum spirit, it’s precious. The other things come and go like shallow tides – transient.

  • Harry PHD

    There is no concern. My goodness, you get more radiation on a daily basis than any fall out of this in the US. Again, fear mongering does nothing other than make a relatively stable situation worse.

    Chernobyl was the worst case scenario and this is nothing remotely close. Even in that catastrophe damage and loss of life was kept very low. Please, just don’t take phrases out of context to push your anti-nuclear agenda.

    • Northern Exposure

      “Chernobyl was the worst case scenario and this is nothing remotely close. Even in that catastrophe damage and loss of life was kept very low.”

      Huh, ya don’t say.

      I had no idea 985,000+ lives lost was a low number. 5000 Russian science papers over a period of 20 years research beg to differ on your cookie cutter EPA/IAEA numbers my friend.

      • Noah

        “There is no concern. My goodness…”
        – Harry PHD

        Most here are concerned foremost about personal bio-accumulation of ingested radioactive particles. We give little concern to radiation on a daily basis coming from solar sources, minerals in the ground, medical diagnosis etc. Compare these sources to the hazards of the ingestion of Plutonium particles and you will understand the concern expressed here.

        Most of us want our children and family to live long healthy mutation free lives first and foremost. We mourn what we have collectively lost, hence the anger. It was a joy filled ride. I used to enjoy seeing my children running freely through the rain, with mouths wide open, trying to catch raindrops. Used to do it myself, when I was little.

    • cossack55

      I assume PHD stands for Pig Headed Dunce.

    • k

      another one to send to tokyo

    • radegan

      My goodness, Harry, what is a PHD? My wife has a PhD, is that the same? And isn’t ‘fallout’ one word? ‘Fall out’ is a platoon command, right? Of course, you’re the expert. Then can you tell me what the correct expected ratio of I-131 to Cs- 137 is in a release to atmosphere accident in any of the given three reactors? And how would that ratio apply to open air fuel pools undergoing spontaneous fission?

    • Mothra

      My goodness. Okay, Harry PhD (of what?). No one here is panic-like were prepared and we strategize exposure prevention of ingested low dose chronic alpha and beta radionuclides that are in addition to sources you mention (already in epidemic). We like information here and we care – otherwise, we’d just go turn on corporate TV.

      Milkshake? Ok. You first, then me after the 2-20 year latency period, emissions cease or levels detected steadily decrease. We can compare notes and co-pays then – if you’re avail. In the meantime, best wishes to you and yours. I hope you’re around long healthy time to give funky advice not based on radionuclide Bio-science. Thank you.

  • Nevadan

    Dear Harry…do some research before speaking of something you obviously do not understand.

  • norral

    lol im glad its “pretty safe” that gunshot wound to the head is also “pretty clean” .
    im so happy officialdom is on the job . how do we know that. just look at the gulf oil spill.
    no problems there. how do i know. why silly they told me so and u know they would never ever lie to us . whew i feel better now infact i feel “pretty safe”

  • Novamind

    The people of this Great Nation Known as The United States of America, collectivley are tired of the misinformation, the disinformation, withheld information, and Blantent Lies, about the Nuclear Fallout and other Issues of Recent and Distant Past, Issues Affecting the General Public and Thier Childrens Health and wellbeing. It is beyond the time for Truth and Leadership, With the Constitution of the United Ststes in mind. To Take control and lead the way to a Better World for ALL!
    Lets all hope for the best and prepare for the Worst! Godspeed! For anything slower will be to Late.

  • Bob Rock

    If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.
    Barack Obama

  • Low levels of radiation will enter our food and water supply over the weeks, months & years ahead.

    Even after (when and if) Fukushima is decomissioned we can still expect numerous health problems.

    Many of these might ordinarily not be noticed by individuals, just part of life when a child develops leukemia, or when someone else gets cancer, or a friend develops a horrible immune system disorder, or people just don’t seem as healthy as before.

    Dr Ernest Sternglass of University of Pittsburg presented the following infant mortality rate for the Pacific states, following Chernobyl fallout in May 1986, just one month after Chernobyl:

    * May 1986 54% increase infant mortality in Washington state
    * May 1986 48% increase infant mortality in California compared to previous June
    * June 1986 245% increase deaths per thousand live births in Washington state
    * June 1986 900% increase infant mortality rate per live births in Massachusetts

    These problems will face those who inhale or ingest even the smallest particle of radioactive material:

    * premature births
    * increased deaths after live births
    * increased infant pneumonia & influenza
    * increased leukemia
    * increased learning defects
    * increased thyroid cancer
    * increased breast cancer
    * immune deficiency disorders
    * increased chronic degenerative disorders

    Since March 18, we’ve been detoxing & taking other precautions to protect ourselves, our animals, our food & soils. All without waiting for permission from the powers that be.



    What about Philadelphia? We are a major city with only surface water as our source. I have seen no more mentions of levels after the EPA’s first batch, where we had the highest reading for tap water in the US and 3 of the 5 highest. Also, it keeps raining and raining here or we are in a low dense fog for weeks, with just a few days breaks of sun. Many people here are too poor to buy bottled water or filters. Think of all the children and pregnant women forced to drink this! Why are there no more mentions about this critical problem?

    • No, not good!

      You’re right. And the millions in the inner cities in SoCal have no idea…with Plutonium coming down there now!! That’s a Level 1 Public Health Emergency, FAR greater than swine flu or any underwear bomber terrorists, combined.

      At least Philly is geographically on the other side of the worst of it in the States…but, presume you are getting heavy Strontium (not tested anywhere), so protect your bones with calcium supplements…and protect your thyroid, take seaweed, filters, storage, etc.

      If they only have surface water for drinking water in Philly, at least that verifies those EPA test results, anyway!!

      Everyone needs to take action. I think those being injured now will help to make themselves known soon enough!…They can’t keep the lid on this for long.

  • No, not good!

    I think it’s helpful if people turn to those who survived/are surviving Chernobyl. They have a very hard, realistic view of life after a Maximum (level 7) Nuclear Accident. Lots of good tips and perspective!! Talk to Russians and Europeans. My Russian friend does not mince words about it.
    Even mainstream media has fully admitted that THIS IS EQUIVALENT TO CHERNOBYL, if not far worse.

    Here’s some sincere, well-meaning advice per links & audio, offered by a survivor:

  • Thomas Wells

    “Official Data”-the offal of: weasels,stooges,pimps,whores,and thieves.