EPA Radiation Stats: 390 mSv of I-131 in Boise Rain, But We’re All Dandy.

Boise Idaho Train Depot Autumn 2010
Image by The Knowles Gallery via Flickr

I would strongly recommend looking at the EPA Radiation results without reading the summary.  As of April 21, according to the EPA all levels remain in the below danger zone.  But I did a little spot checking of the raw results.  If you look at the rainfall in Boise Idaho reported on April 4th and April 8th, the results I see are 242 and 390 mSv of I-131 radiation respectively.  If you then look at my post on calculating radiation exposure a mSv is equal to 100 mrems.  My yearly exposure to radiation is 325 or so mrems or roughly 3.25 mSv.  So if I’d been in Boise on March 22 (reported 4/4/11) or 27th (reported on April 8th), I would have been exposed, conceivably, to one hundred times my average yearly exposure.  Boy, a lifetime’s exposure in one day.  That sounds like a newsworthy event, right?  Kansas city got 200 mSv on March 29th (reported on 4/13/11), and Boston got 92 mSv on March 22nd (reported on 4/8/11).  I really hope I’m mistaking my exposures here, and I certainly am not someone with any radiation experience, but from what I’ve read it certainly seems like we’re seeing some exposures that should be reported in the news.  It doesn’t have to cause a panic, it just needs to be similar to the smog warnings for people. 

I, for one, have family in Portland, Oregon, which experienced 86.8mSv on March 25th.  I think they’d like to know that, so they plan their all day biking trips on another day. 

Can someone please point out to me the error in what I’m pointing out?  I believe that the EPA is reporting in mSv, and I have no reason to doubt the conversion instruments I’m using. 

Also, can anyone explain why, when we know tomorrow’s weather a week ahead, that we don’t report radiation exposures until up to two weeks after they occur?  Doesn’t it seem like a little radioactive iodine sprinkle would be a bit more important than the sprinkle itself? 


3 Replies to “EPA Radiation Stats: 390 mSv of I-131 in Boise Rain, But We’re All Dandy.”

  1. Check your units, I doubt it mSv will be the unit for rainwater.

    Also a dose of 100 mSv is a vast dose for the general public, are you sure it is not microSv not milliSv ?

    The americans tend to use pCi rather than Bq for activity levels in environmental samples.

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