Radioactive Seaweed Likely In Washington - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Radioactive Seaweed Likely In Washington

KIROTV.COM - Radioactive seaweed detected near Vancouver, B.C., is likely to be found on Washington state beaches too but doesn't pose any threat to humans, researchers in Vancouver said." The levels we are detecting are very, very low," said Prof. Kris Starosta with Simon Fraser University. "These are tiny levels of radiation."

Starosta said the radioactive iodine 131 was released by damaged nuclear reactors in Japan, transmitted by rainwater and absorbed into the seaweed, which is known to readily absorb iodine.

He said knowing that the radiation took about a week to reach the west coast of North America was the biggest benefit to his research.

"This tells you what your window of opportunity to prepare and react if something catastrophic happens is," Starosta said.

Some people, like the operators of the Boston Harbor Marina in Olympia, wonder if radiation in seaweed could affect fish or other marine life. "If they tell us that it's bad or dangerous, the last thing we are going to do is start eating the seaweed or the fish that's contaminated," Marcus Smythe said. But state health officials say there is absolutely no reason to believe that the small amounts of radiation reaching Washington will have any negative consequences.

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