Some caveats in this article, but it appears that the radiation fears have been very overblown by our inane media. For the sake of the Japanese people, I hope this is true: The first radiation measurements from within a 37-mile radius of the disabled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant do not reveal any immediate health threat and perhaps not even any health problems measurable decades from now, if levels stay where they are. This may surprise people who assume that radioactivity in the vicinity of the plant must be dangerous, since radiation levels inside the plant are so high that workers can stay outside for only minutes at a time. "This is very important information," says Hiroshima-based researcher Evan Douple, who has been studying the health of atomic bomb survivors for decades. Douple says the new radiation levels, shown to him by NPR, "should be reassuring. At these levels so far, I don't think a study would be able to measure that there would be any health effects" even years from now. The radiation levels come from 46 monitoring posts scattered around the vicinity of the devastated power plant, from 12 miles to about 37 miles away. The readings were taken at two or three time points on Thursday and Friday and posted on the website of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. They're the first systematic, ground-level measurements to be made public since the crisis began last weekend. The general picture is that radiation levels in the vicinity of the power plant are close to "background" levels at some locations. A background level is ever-present, low-level radiation given off by rocks, cosmic rays, fossil fuels and other natural sources. It accounts for about half the radiation exposure everyone gets, with medical tests accounting for the other half. "Readings 10 times above background I don't think one would bat an eyelash at, really," says David Brenner, director of Columbia University's Center for Radiation Research. The only exception to the generally low-level radiation measurements are from three monitoring posts northwest of the power plant that have measured levels 50 to 170 times higher than the other posts. These three posts are clustered together at a point about 18 miles from the power plant.... Early Radiation Data From Near Plant Ease Health Fears : Shots - Health Blog : NPR Personally, I am heartily tired of the self absorbed hysteria of people here in CA who are worried about the risk of eensy bits of radiation. The local news station, KTVU, did some "man on the street" interviews this week. One guy sums up my feelings quite well. When asked whether he was going to stock up on iodide (as recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General), he responded "don't the Japanese need it more than we do?"