NH DHHS - Low Level of Radiation Found in a Sample of Snow

Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is announcing results of a snow sample processed by the Public Health Labs over the weekend. The sample was collected from the DPHS radiological detection equipment in Concord. The test results show low levels of radioiodine, or I-131, which are consistent with findings from other states as a result of the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan. The level was measured at approximately 40 pCi/L (picocuries per liter).

“In New Hampshire we do not typically test rain or snow samples during the winter season,” said Dr. José Montero, DPHS Director. “However, we felt it was prudent to take the initiative and do some expanded testing. This is not an unexpected finding and we may continue to see similar activity until the crisis in Japan stabilizes. I want to be clear that this does not constitute a threat to the public in New Hampshire and there are no actions people should be taking as a result of this finding.”

The results of DPHS’ radiological detection program are submitted automatically to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is part of a national program to monitor radiation levels around the country and data are complied by the EPA. 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. DPHS will conduct additional testing as necessary relative to the evolving situation in Japan.

“For those who may be concerned about this finding I would like to put this in perspective,” said Montero. “The amount of radiation detected is at least 25 times below the level that would be of concern for use as a sole source of water over a short period of time, even for infants, pregnant women or breastfeeding women, who are the most sensitive to radiation. We will be updating the public as further information becomes available.”

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