Lawmakers say residents emailing and calling with radiation fears

Published On: Feb 10 2014 09:56:17 AM HST   Updated On: Feb 10 2014 10:31:36 AM HST

It has been almost three years since a massive earthquake crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

Click here to see Catherine Cruz's report.

Radiation fears have resurfaced and now residents are asking whether the state's doing enough to be sure there's nothing from the Fukushima meltdown hitting our shores.    

“I just want to make sure what we consume is going to be safe," said Adrian Chang.

Chang is a retired Pearl Harbor nuclear engineer.

He turned out to support a bill calling for radiation testing at the urging of his friends and family.

State health officials assured lawmakers that the department has been monitoring our shores since before the earthquake.

The testing happens quarterly on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

"We have equipment that is so sensitive so we can detect it as minuscule levels that is far, far below any public health concern. But the fact we can detect it throws fear into individuals as you are well aware," said Jeff Eckerd of the state radiological health branch.

The state is also regularly testing our air, rain, milk, and drinking water. Eckerd says levels of any radiation found in fish have been extremely low.

But Senator Josh Green wonders if part of the problem is the public can’t find the data easily displayed on the Department of Health website.

"I had a difficult time finding it and the latest update was seven or eight months ago" said Green.

State health officials said duly noted.

"We are still at normal background radiation level. We are considering posting the results because of the request we have been getting so it is something that we are looking into it,” said Eckard.

"Sometimes fear is the greatest harm that we have.  The impact of psychological concerns that persist if you can’t get good answers can actually be more damaging than the tragedy itself," said Green.

A similar bill introduced in the house was also heard Friday.  The joint Senate health and environment committee is to to take a vote on the bill next week.


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