Trace amounts of radioactive iodine that officials think came from Japan's nuclear leak were discovered in New York, state Health Department officials announced this morning.
The Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency test for radioactivity at 12 sites throughout the state, including Brookhaven National Laboratories in Shoreham, Long Island and Fishers Island in Millstone, Connecticut.
The trace amounts of radioactivity are not a threat to public health, said officials, and drinking water and air quality remain safe.
However, health officials say they are certain the radioactive amounts came from Japan.
“There are very small amounts of radioactive material from Japan in the air over the US,” Health Department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton told CBS 6. “When it rains or snows, the material is washed to the ground and onto surface waters, such as lakes, rivers and reservoirs."
New York scientists warned Metro last week that the spread of radiation could indeed reach the East Coast from as far away as Japan.
“It could cover the globe,” Hofstra geology professor Charles Merguerian told Metro. “If it belches forth radioactive goo, people are going to experience it.”
Low concentrations of radioactive iodine were also found in rainwater at sites in Pennsylvania, as well as Ohio and Massachusetts.