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Alaska Says Testing Fish for Radiation is Unnecessary

May 07, 2012|By Jason Lamb | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Testing Alaska salmon and other fish for radiation after Japan'searthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster is unnecessary, according to the State of Alaska. 

Washington state is now testing samples of fish caught in its rivers for radiation levels, but Alaska environmental health officials say they plan no such testing.

The State of Alaska says it simply doesn't need to do that kind of testing for Alaska Fish.

The environmental health director for the Department of Environmental Conservation says Washington state is likely making the decision to test its fish because of the availability of labs there.

the Alaska DEC cites data that shows fish harvested in Alaska aren't going anywhere near the shores of Japan, where radiation levels were high. 

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"The Food and Drug Administration has been testing species of fish that are imported from Japan and enter our food system," said Kristin Ryan, with the Division of Environmental Health.  "They aren't finding any levels of radiation on those species."

Environmental groups like Alaska Community Action on Toxics say the state should do additional testing for radiation, because it would give consumers peace of mind.

"I think Washington state is taking a prudent step to protect public health, and I would call upon our health department to the state of Alaska to do the same," director Pam Miller said.

The state says it would rather spend money on testing salmon for things like mercury, something the state says is a much bigger threat than radiation.

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