Archived: The Lessons To Be Learned From Japan’s Tragedy


Following Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Americans, like people all over the world have been learning more about the nuclear power generating industry than may in some cases be wise.

The news that dangerous levels of radiation could escape from Japan’s severely damaged nuclear reactors has many living in fear that the winds could bring the radiation to our shores.

This may be a case of a little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.

Judging by the report from pharmacies across the state and the Los Angeles area in particular, people are buying out all supplies of potassium iodide pills. This fact now has many public health officials worried that many who bought the pills may decide to take them, out of fear rather than need.

This could create other complications to their health, so health officials have sent out several warnings to residents to not to take the pills.

We suggest that supplies of the potassium iodide pills not be put on the shelves or even sold – and that a cooling off period, perhaps of five days, be put in place.

For those who would like to know more about the effects of radiation, or more clarification on why not to take potassium iodide, the State of California has established a hot line (916) 341-3947, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The real lessons that we should be learning from the tragedy in Japan is that we must be prepared for disasters here at home and that the flow of information is not always fast in coming or accurate when delivered.

Sen. Barbara Boxer said yesterday that she is concerned nuclear power plants in California were “built to standards based on 1970 era assumptions,” and called for a complete, top to bottom revenue of their safety, using 2011 information.

Given California’s propensity for earthquakes, we agree.

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