Radiation Risks From Milk, Security Scanners, Assessed

The risks of radiation exposure to consumers from milk, and to travelers from security scanners, are said to be ‘miniscule’ and ‘trivial’ by experts over the last few days.

On March 25, a sample of milk from Spokane, Washington, was found to be tainted with radioactive iodine-131. However, it is reported to be 5000+ times lower than risk levels set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Then on March 28, a sample of milk in California was also found to contain Iodine-131, according to the California Department of Public Health. They also said that the California sample is below risk levels.

The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a joint statement that “These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children.”

Dr. Marc Siegel, interviewed on Fox News Channel today, agreed. He compared the amount of radiation found in the milk to one speck of dust on the entire earth. On Fox Nation, he wrote of the calls he had received asking for potassium iodide pills, saying the “fears are irrational, and they are reminiscent of the nervous calls I received for Cipro during the anthrax scare of 2011 and for Tamiflu during the bird flu scare of 2005.”

Radiation is also being discussed in relation to airport security scanners. A new study done by Pratik Mehta, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Rebecca Smith-Bindman of the University of California, San Francisco, was published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. In it, the authors said that it would take 4000 trips through a scanner to receive the equivalent of radiation from one mammogram.

“Based on what is known about the scanners, passengers should not fear going through the scans for health reasons, as the risks are truly trivial,” the authors wrote.

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.