This morning I heard about a radioactive rain warning. I looked into it a bit more. Some were reasonable (don’t drink the rain, bring and umbrella). Others less so, calls to close schools and put your life on hold. By the way these reports put it, some might be lead to believe that the ROK is the most dangerous place to be living. A number of schools in Seoul have shut down today. The schools that didn’t shut down have been subject of protest from parents(AFP).
Will this radiation be harmful? Is the exposure significantly above our normal levels? Does 700 miles make a difference? Radiation is all around us, all of the time (see: the sun). How much of it can actually harm us?
I doubt it is worth worrying about. The US department of state is recommending a 50 mile evacuation zone and traces of increased radiation can be found within 150 miles of Fukushima (Christian Science Monitor). That is not to say that it isn’t something that the people in Japan should worry about. The effects of significant exposure can be pretty terrible.
I understand that the people in Korea really care about the safety of their children but (like a lot of people on the west coast of the U.S.) they need to take a deep breath and calm down. Here is a link to a chart pretty clearly describing the effects of varying amounts of radiation exposure. Experts concur that based on the amount of radiation being released in Japan and considering the dispersion over the distance it takes to get here, there is no significant threat to the health of people in Korea.
I have concern for the people in Japan, and the huge amounts of radiation leaking into the ocean, and potential food contamination and so on and so on but today’s showers are nothing to lose sleep over.