HEALTH

Traces of Japan's Radiation Found in Rainwater in U.S.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 17:  A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in on February 17, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  Wet and stormy weather continues to drench the San Francisco Bay Area and is forecast to continue through the holiday weekend with a 60 percent chance of rain each day until President's Day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 17: A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in on February 17, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Wet and stormy weather continues to drench the San Francisco Bay Area and is forecast to continue through the holiday weekend with a 60 percent chance of rain each day until President's Day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 17:  A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in on February 17, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  Wet and stormy weather continues to drench the San Francisco Bay Area and is forecast to continue through the holiday weekend with a 60 percent chance of rain each day until President's Day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 17: A pedestrian holds an umbrella as he waits to cross the street in on February 17, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Wet and stormy weather continues to drench the San Francisco Bay Area and is forecast to continue through the holiday weekend with a 60 percent chance of rain each day until President's Day. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

Low concentrations of radiation, most likely from Japan, have been found in traces of rainwater as far away as Massachusetts, health officials say.

But the miniscule amounts – also found in rain water in California, Nevada Pennsylvania, and Washington state, pose no health risks, scientists say.

John Auerbach, the Massachusetts commissioner of public health, said that radioiodine-131 found in the sample — one of more than 100 that have been taken around the country — is short lived. He said the drinking water supply in the state was unaffected and officials do not expect any health concerns.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the in-state sample was taken in the past week, but they did not say where. The testing is part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency network that monitors for radioactivity.

State officials said similar testing was done in California, Pennsylvania, Washington and other states, and showed comparable levels of I-131 in rain.

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Massachusetts testing last week of samples from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs showed no detectable levels of I-131, health officials said.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. directed the Department of Environmental Protection to collect additional samples for testing from several water bodies across Massachusetts. Results will be available over the next several days.

In Japan, mounting problems, including miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they struggled to bring the country's nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster. Workers were trying to remove radioactive water from the nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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