California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez issued a statement Tuesday announcing a new website devoted to giving information on disaster relief efforts in Japan, as well as offering guidelines for earthquake preparedness in California. Additionally, the LA County Department of Public Health released a statement Monday saying there is no risk to teh LA County food or water supply from Japan. (See below)
Here’s Speaker Perez’s announcement:
As you know, on Friday, March 11, the north coast of Japan was hit by a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that has caused widespread destruction and devastation. Current estimates predict loss of life in the thousands, and millions are without shelter, food or heat as they brave winter temperatures. Relief organizations around the world are mobilizing to provide relief to those affected by the disaster.
In response to this catastrophic event, I directed the Assembly Democratic Caucus to establish a new website to provide information on current relief efforts undertaken by organizations such as the Red Cross, Americares, and others. There is also a section devoted entirely to the disaster’s effects on California.
To examine the site please visit the new California State Assembly Disaster Preparedness Website at: http://asmdc.org/issues/disaster/. Within that site there are specific links to the Japan Earthquake; the California Situation Report; and Disaster Preparedness in general.
State and Federal officials are actively monitoring the situation in Japan and are ready to take all steps necessary to protect Californians should any risks related to radiation develop. For more information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/radiation/statement.html.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with those affected by this tragedy.
JOHN A. PÉREZ
Speaker of the Assembly
Here’s the health advisory from LA County:
March 21, 2011
HEALTH ADVISORY: UPDATE #3
No risk to LA County food and water supply; No health risks from airline passengers arriving from Japan
LOS ANGELES – The latest news reports concerning the nuclear power complex situation in Japan may have some residents concerned about food and drinking water safety here in the United States. The County Health Officer would like to reassure all residents that there is no risk of radiation contamination to the current food or drinking water supply in Los Angeles County, and no risk from foods previously imported from Japan.
“Food and livestock produced and grown in California are not at risk as there is no indication that harmful levels of radiation will reach our state. Drinking water supplies in Los Angeles County are frequently monitored to ensure safety. There is no risk to the water supply,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “Food and other products previously imported from Japan into our state are also safe as these were produced and distributed well before this tragedy occurred.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are both actively monitoring the situation in Japan, and are working with the Japanese government and other U.S. agencies to ensure the continued safety of imported food and other products. The FDA already has a strict screening process in place for imports.
“There may also be concerns over airline passengers arriving in LA County from Japan. Let me reassure you that these passengers do not pose a health risk to others as a result of this unfortunate situation in Japan,” said Dr. Fielding. “Most passengers are being screened for possible radiation contamination upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).”
LAX and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are using radiation detection devices to screen new arrivals and their baggage. If decontamination is needed, typical actions would include removing affected clothing, and washing with soap and water. Baggage may be wiped down or thrown away.
The public is encouraged to check reliable sources for up-to-date information on this issue. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has set up a hotline with information available in English and Spanish at (916) 341-3947. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a hotline with information available 24/7 at (800) CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
For more information from the FDA on radiation safety, visit http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm247403.htm.
For more information from the USDA regarding food imports, please visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome.
“Again, I want to remind everyone that they should avoid taking potassium iodide (KI) out of concern of possible exposure to radiation. Taking KI is not only ineffective, but could also cause side effects,” said Dr. Fielding. “I would also caution against purchasing products that claim to prevent or treat effects of radiation. These products come in all varieties, such as dietary supplements, devices or vaccines, and could cause harm. The best prevention is to prepare a basic emergency kit to prepare for any kind of disaster.”
While potassium iodide is not a recommended component of such a kit, there are at least 10 Essential Items, as recommended by the Emergency Survival Program in LA County’s Office of Emergency Management, which should be included:
3.Cash and Important Documents
6. First Aid Kit
7. Prescription Medication
9. Toiletries 10. Tools
These essential items will help ensure that people have access to basic essentials when other resources may not be available during an emergency. It is also vital that families put together a Communications Plan, such as a pre-planned place to meet and a designated out-of-state contact, in case family members are separated or at work or school when a disaster strikes.
For more general information on earthquake and disaster readiness, visit the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
For more information on potassium iodide (KI), visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: LAPublicHealth.
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