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Ongoing EPA monitoring confirms Washington milk is safe

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that Washington milk is safe to drink.

The Washington state departments of Agriculture (WSDA) and Health (DOH) continue to reassure consumers that milk produced and sold in Washington remains a healthy choice for families. Results of ongoing federal monitoring confirm that Washington-produced milk poses no risks for public health.

In the wake of the Japan nuclear plant disaster, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting radiological testing of milk produced in Washington. EPA results announced on March 30 confirmed the presence of miniscule levels of radioactive iodine (Iodine-131).

On April 4, additional milk sampling results from Tacoma and Spokane was posted on the EPA website. In these two samples, also taken the week of March 21, testing did not detect any radioactive elements, even in trace amounts.

In the one sample that did indicate the presence of Iodine-131, the levels found in the milk were 5,000 times below the level that would indicate a health concern, even for children. Drinking a pint of milk with these levels of radiation would be less than half the radiation exposure that occurs during a five-hour airplane flight.

Because there is no impact to human health, no milk recalls will be initiated.

"EPA monitoring confirms that Washington milk is safe to drink," said WSDA Director Dan Newhouse. "These results raise no concerns for food safety or public health. Milk and other dairy products remain a healthy choice in your diet."

The state Department of Health continues to monitor air for radiation, which confirms that the disaster in Japan has led to no environmental health risks in Washington, making protective action unnecessary.

Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said, "There's a lot of monitoring underway to see how much radiation from Japan can be found in the environment here, and as expected all of the results show very low levels that are well below any health risk,"

She continued, "We understand people are concerned, and it's important to know that only trace levels have been detected. The state continues to monitor air and rainwater, and, in fact, we expect to have results from our own state milk tests later this month."

Air quality monitoring reports are posted each weekday on the state health department website, along with other relevant information about the state's response to the disaster in Japan.

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