State health officials are seeking to calm residents nerves about potential radiation exposure from Japans failing nuclear plants.
We dont think that there is a risk at this point, and were trying not to elevate concerns of people in Colorado at this time, said Mark Salley, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The agency, which recently released a questions-and-answers sheet to address public concerns, is monitoring the situation in conjunction with many other state and federal organizations, Salley said.
According to the document, Colorados distance from Japan reduces the risk of exposure to the radiation that has been released as a result of this accident.
Variables that determine risk include the amount of radiation in the atmosphere, the distance from the radiation source, and whether there is any shielding between the source and a person.
There is no indication that radioactive materials from the incidents in Japan have the potential to significantly affect the U.S.
The Associated Press reported that many Americans, especially on the West Coast, have been stocking up on potassium iodide, which protects the thyroid from radioactive materials.
Patsy Ford, director of the personal health division at the San Juan Basin Health Department, said this is not recommended and taking the compound can be dangerous when taken unnecessarily.
Potential effects include intestinal upset, rashes, allergic reactions, soreness of teeth and gums, and inflammation of the salivary glands, Ford said.
The federal governments Strategic National Stockpile stores potassium iodide, among other emergency relief materials, and can deliver emergency equipment and medicines within 12 hours when needed.
On a local basis, in the last couple of years, we have practiced the methodology and the effectiveness of our plan for the delivery of medications and whatever we need through the SNS, Ford said.
Colorado does not have any nuclear power plants, and Ford said the state is relatively safe in the future because the threat posed by nuclear radiation is proportional to the distance from its source.
The closest nuclear power plant to Durango is the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Wintersburg, Ariz., about 55 miles west of Phoenix. It is the largest nuclear plant in the U.S.