Update: Radiation in Japan & How It’s Affecting the U.S.

Since an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, followed by a 33 ft high tsunami, Japanese officials have been keeping a close eye on the nuclear reactors that were damaged in the wake of the natural disasters.

The United Nations agency has commended the actions Japan has taken so far, which include evacuating people within 20 kilometers of the Fukushima nuclear power plant and asking those within 30 kms to stay indoors.

Officials from the United States have told citizens abroad in Japan to evacuate the area if they are living within 80 kilometers from the nuclear plant.  The State Department is urging all every one to avoid tourism and other non-essential travel to Japan.  Other countries, like Britain, are chartering flights to evacuate citizens from the country.

Of the thousands of people in the area surrounding the plant, 23 have been treated for radiation exposure.  As a pre-caution, potassium iodide doses have been distributed to evacuation centers, which block radiation from affecting the thyroid.

Currently, there is no indication of food safety risks from imports of food products from Japan.  Officials say it is unlikely that food production or harvesting in the affected area is taking place, but do recommend that crops and livestock in the area should be protected.

According to U.S. officials, including President Obama and the WHO, the risk of radiation reaching the U.S. is very low, and they are advising people not to take potassium iodide.  Despite this, many online outlets who sell the product have run out of stock.