Yesterday, The California Report’s Central Valley Bureau Chief Sasha Khokha interviewed Dr. Howard Backer, Interim Director of the California Dept of Public Health, about traces of radioactive iodine emanating from Japan’s downed nuclear power plant that have been found in milk samples from cows in San Luis Obispo County.

During this crisis, try as we might, we’ve yet to find a health official or scientific expert who has described the amount of detected radiation as anything but negligible and a non-health risk. Dr. Backer was no exception. Listen below:

Howard Backer: Radioactive amounts in milk “minute” and “just at the level of detection”[audio:|titles=RadiationMilk1]

Radiation is “thousands of times” below level of concern and dept is “not afraid to pull product” from market if necessary[audio:|titles=RadiationMilk2]

Exact level detected given[audio:|titles=RadiationMilk3]

Radiocactive iodine has short half-life so expected to be “gone within weeks to months”[audio:|titles=RadiationMilk4]



Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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