U.S. Airport Radiation Detectors Being Triggered by Japanese Passengers


There are fewer words scarier than “nuclear meltdown” and, of course, “radiation.” So it’s not surprising that Americans are concerned, particularly on the West Coast, where low, reportedly “not dangerous” levels of radiation are now headed, about possible fallout from the nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant. The latest news about radiation in the U.S. is that passengers coming from Tokyo have triggered radiation detectors in airports, including in Chicago and Dallas.

According to the Chicago Sun Times,

“We are aware that occurred [Wednesday]. We are working with Customs and Border Protection on this issue,” Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said, referring all questions to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Andolino refused to say how the incident was handled or what happened to the Tokyo passengers in question.

“The protection of the person coming off the plane is very important in regards to any radiation — especially within their families and anything else,” Mayor Daley said.

Homeland Security has said that the levels detected are not hazardous, and that the alarms “could be caused by commonplace things” — in fact, they happen frequently. Monitoring efforts have been heightened as a safety measure.

“In an exercise of caution and just to make sure that everyone remains safe, we are doing screening of passengers and cargo if there happens to be even a blip in terms of radiation,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday.

Toyko passengers set off radiation detectors at O’Hare [CST]
Tokyo flights trigger radiation detectors [MSNBC]