NH DHHS Monitoring Damaged Japanese Reactor Situation

Concord, NH – The State of New Hampshire public health and emergency management agency officials along with federal counterparts are closely monitoring the situation in Japan regarding the damaged nuclear reactors as a result of last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Although the situation surrounding the nuclear reactors in Fukushima Daiichi remains grave, radioactive material is not expected to reach New Hampshire in any quantity sufficient to produce health concerns, according to scientists with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the White House.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) and Department of Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) officials along with other State partners are tracking events in Japan as they unfold and working with federal agencies to take any appropriate steps that may be needed. DPHS does historic monitoring of radiation across the State on a regular basis and will continue to do so. Monitoring for radioactivity in the air, waters, and soil is done on a continuing basis in New Hampshire. Unusual increases in radioactivity would be quickly detected.

“Some people in New Hampshire are wondering if they should be taking potassium iodide because of the events in Japan and the answer is no,” said Dr. José Montero, DPHS Director. “While potassium iodide can protect the thyroid gland against some harmful radiation, it can produce adverse side effects and it does not last very long in the body. It should only be taken if exposure to considerably elevated levels of radiation is going to occur and as a supplemental action to evacuation. If that were ever the case, New Hampshire officials would notify people of when to take it.”

For more information, visit the following sites:
State of New Hampshire readiness www.nh.gov/readynh
NH Department of Health and Human Services www.dhhs.nh.gov
US Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov
US Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov

To Donate to the Japan Response Efforts www.usaid.gov