Snake River Alliance Wants More Water, Milk Testing After High Iodine-131 Levels Found Locally

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In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered elevated levels of iodine-131 in Boise rainwater on March 22. The readings, 242 picocuries per liter, which are the highest levels recorded in the United States, were reportedly 80 times the U.S. drinking water standard if the level persisted for a prolonged time.

"We're in contact with the EPA and in the process of clarifying their protocol for water and milk sampling," said Liz Woodruff, Snake River Alliance executive director. Environmentalists are concerned about the effects of tainted rainwater on dairy cows that graze outdoors.

"We are insisting that EPA sample milk in the same areas where the rainwater samples were taken," said Woodruff. "We are aware that risks to public health and safety are low, in equivalence with the relatively low dose received in Idaho because precipitation was not excessive."

Woodruff said SRA was also asking EPA to contact Idaho dairymen to discuss measures to protect their milk supply, if needed.

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