Fukushima 2011-Air Quality

The following is archived information that was originally published on this website in 2011.

Important information about this page.

The Department of Health posted daily results of environmental monitoring in March and April 2011 in response to the nuclear events following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. All detections of radioactive material were far below any public health risk. The data posted online included monitoring conducted by the state health department in addition to the federal monitoring that is always taking place. In May, when amounts of radioactive material were lower than detection levels with standard monitoring, the additional state sampling and daily data posting were stopped. Daily federal monitoring has concluded, but the historical data for that period is available on the Environmental Protection Agency's RadNet website.

Earthquake in Japan - What does it mean for Washington?

Shortly after the earthquake and tsunami damaged some nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan in mid-March, 2011, the Washington State Department of Health began reporting daily readings of the background radiation around the state.

Results from specific state health department monitoring for radioactive iodine from Japan in Washington's air and rainwater were also posted online. Recently, the levels of material from the Japanese reactors detected in our state have been at or below detection levels for standard test methods. None of the readings in any testing in the state were of any health concern for people living in Washington.

As the situation continues to stabilize in Japan and levels of radioactive materials in Washington from those reactors remain so low, the Department of Health has discontinued reporting daily results online.

The state Department of Health continues to monitor radioactive contamination in our environment throughout the state, and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) RadNet samplers continue to take readings as they did before the earthquake. Additional information about EPA monitoring that was conducted following the earthquake, will it at the EPA website.

If the situation in Japan changes significantly the state Department of Health will increase its testing and data reporting, as appropriate. Questions about the state health department's work on this event may be sent to doh.information@doh.wa.gov.

Readings from air samples taken around the state: