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Originally published March 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM | Page modified March 14, 2011 at 8:19 AM

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State health officials: no nuclear-exposure risk here

Washington state health officials monitoring the nuclear-plant incidents in Japan say there is currently no danger of exposure here. Air monitoring shows no...

Washington state health officials monitoring the nuclear-plant incidents in Japan say there is currently no danger of exposure here.

Air monitoring shows no elevated radiation levels, said Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer.

In a worst-case scenario, a nuclear meltdown could release radioactive isotopes, including iodine, that could reach the U.S. West Coast in six to 10 days, Dr. Ira Helfand, of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said in a briefing Saturday.

But the real danger is to people in Japan, where officials are distributing protective potassium iodide tablets to communities near the imperiled plants. The tablets prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed into the thyroid gland.

Even in the worst-case scenario, Moyer said the possibility of people in Washington receiving significant radiation doses is slight.

"The likelihood of a public-health risk here is so low, it's off the scale."

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