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Alaska's Dutch Harbor shows highest radiation in U.S. from Japan crisis

During the worst week of the Japanese nuclear crisis, the EPA's radiation monitor in Dutch Harbor recorded the highest levels of radioactive iodine fallout in the United States among reporting stations, the agency said.

Despite the relatively high levels in the Aleutian Island community on March 19 and 20, state and federal health officials continued to say Tuesday that the amounts of radioactive byproducts were way too small to pose a health risk.

"It may be high relative to the other readings, but it is inconsequential," said Bernd Jilly, director of the state's health lab in Anchorage.

The EPA report, issued Monday, is based upon laboratory analyses of filters and charcoal canisters on the monitors, and only a handful of stations were reported among more than 100 in its network.

Among the missing results were from stations in Anchorage and Fairbanks. An EPA spokeswoman said the missing information may be attributed to a backlog at the agency's lab in Alabama.

The report is the first broad, if limited, set of results of the radioactive material captured by the filters and canisters around the Pacific from Nome to Guam, and as far inland as Montgomery, Ala. Of all those stations, Guam is the closest to Fukushima, about 1,700 miles south and outside the prevailing winds. At its highest reading, on March 22, Guam reported only a fifth as much radioactivity from iodine-131 as Dutch Harbor.

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