Area residents still advised to take precautions
*** THIS IS AN EXERCISE: THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT. ***
For Immediate Release:
June 1, 2009 • 6:00 p.m.
Burlington, VT – Radiological experts in Vermont continue to report normal – or near normal – levels of radiation in western Vermont, after two radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) or “dirty bombs” exploded in downtown Albany, New York yesterday morning.
“Our hearts are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in the explosion,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “Here in Vermont we have pledged to do all we can to help New York recover from this terrible event. And with thanks to the assistance of our many partners both in state and beyond, we continue to make every effort to protect the health and safety of Vermonters and our environment.”
Members of the Vermont Hazardous Materials Response (HazMat) team have spent the last 24 hours taking direct radiation measurements of the environment in the western part of the state, particularly Bennington, Rutland and Addison Counties.
Few of the radiation measures are above background levels. Preliminary field measurements of environmental samples also show only very low levels of contamination. These samples will be taken to the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory in Burlington for further analysis.
Starting tomorrow, samples of food sources for people and animals will be collected from the area for laboratory analysis. To help with this effort, the State of Connecticut’s mobile radiological laboratory is now in Vermont with specialized instruments to collect, measure and analyze possible contamination to the food supply.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region I) has also sent in dozens of radiological emergency response specialists.
These teams join the Vermont Department of Health, the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Labor, the 15th Civil Support Team. All will work together over the coming days and weeks in an extensive campaign to ensure that products from Vermont may be used or consumed safely. This work will be managed by radiological health experts and coordinated through the Health Operations Center located at the Health Department offices in Burlington.
Precautions for People in Rutland, Bennington & Addison Counties
People in Bennington, Rutland and Addison counties are advised to avoid eating food or food products that were out in the open and may have been contaminated:
- Packaged foods in unopened cans, jars, bottles and bags will be safe to eat. Wash the outside of the container before opening it.
- Foods covered and stored in freezers, refrigerators and pantries should be safe as well.
- Produce from gardens and orchards, or wild foods, should not be eaten for now, until health authorities say it is safe.
- Most water supplies come from protected underground wells, or large bodies of water where any contamination is going to be diluted and should be safe to drink.
- If you have any doubt, do not eat or drink suspect foods or food products or feed them to your pets or livestock.
- For those in the affected areas, continue to wash hands often, take daily showers and take shoes off before coming inside.
If you were in the Albany, New York area at the time of the blasts, call the Health Department at 800-439-8550. You may call as well if you spent significant time in the Albany area since the blasts occurred at around 10:00 a.m. on, Sunday May 31.
Do Not Travel to Albany City, Albany and Rensselaer Counties
New York has seen significant disruption. Vermonters are still advised not to travel into Rensselaer and Albany Counties in New York or to the City of Albany. Additional information about public health or environmental health in New York is available from those agencies.
For More Information –
Stay tuned to radio and TV for updates and announcements. For updates, extensive additional information and resources, go to healthvermont.gov, or dial 2-1-1 for assistance in any language.