For Immediate Release March 14, 2011
Office of the Provincial Health Officer
Radiation from Japan poses no health risk in B.C.
VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall today issued a statement reassuring British Columbians that there is no expected health risk from radiation at the Japanese nuclear power plant.
"Based on present information, we do not expect any health risk following the nuclear reactor releases in Japan, nor is the consumption of potassium iodide tablets a necessary precaution.
"Small amounts of low level radiation released from the nuclear reactors in Japan will have been dispersed in the atmosphere there and are not a health risk to British Columbians.
"Modelling of possible scenarios suggest that any release into the atmosphere of nuclear particles would take five to six days to reach British Columbia, by which time it would be so dispersed as to be not considered a health risk.
"As a result of the terrible tragedy, emergency officials in British Columbia remain in constant contact with Health Canada, the lead department responsible for co-ordinating Canada’s nuclear emergency response. The BC Centre for Disease Control, provincial and federal governments as well as Washington State and international authorities such as the World Health Organization continue to monitor the events, including radiation levels. To date, there have been no reports of nuclear particles from the facility in Japan reaching the west coast of North America.
"It is recommended that pharmacies do not dispense or stockpile potassium iodide tablets. Some pharmacies are reporting a run on sales of iodide tablets, which can protect the thyroid gland from the impact of being exposed to high-levels of radioactive iodine 131.
"The consumption of iodide tablets is not a necessary precaution as there is no current risk of radiological I131 exposure. Even if radiation from Japan ever made it to British Columbia, our prediction based on current information, is that it would not pose any significant health risk."
Ministry of Health
250 952-1889 (Media line)