Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Radiation on the West Coast

I live a stone's throw away from the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, and I'm starting to hear about possible radiation on the West Coast. So far It sounds like attempts by journalists to get an audience, but I figure I better check with the official source for information about potential hazards -- my government.

CDC: absolutely nothing on the home page saying whether West Coasters need iodine tablets, as some in the media are recommending. At the top of the site: "Haiti Cholera Response".

Surgeon General: absolutely nothing on the home page. There is a link to a piece called "Finding My Way to Electronic Health Recoreds". That's a relief; much more important than learning about whether radiation from Japan can make it to my house.

The State of California: nothing. The top item listed there? "CA Governor Receives Sunny Award for Transparency."

My gut feel is that I don't need to worry about anything. Yet, why isn't my government -- you know, the experts who work for me? -- making clear what needs to be done, or doesn't need to be done?

With no knowledge of fallout and radiation, and less knowledge about trade winds and jetstreams, I have to decide, on my own, if I'm at risk.

I'm forced to conclude the following about my health leaders: 1) they don't watch or listen to the news, leaving them in the dark about what the public is hearing, and 2) they don't know how rumors spread.

I expected each of those three websites to have a large banner, right at the top, giving a simple paragraph saying, "There is no danger to Alaska or the West Coast of the United States." That's the first thing I would have done, were I the head honcho at CDC, or the Surgeon General, or the Governor of the State of California.

I'll try, as a last ditch attempt, the Department of Health and Human Services, our largest government department. "Regional Fraud Prevention Summit".

I give up.

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