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UPDATE: Japan 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami – U.S. Government Information


In the United States Air Quality The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring air quality in the United States. As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said, as well as other public health experts, we do not expect to see radiation levels of concern reaching the U.S. from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant.

The EPA has its radiation air monitoring (RadNet) data, frequently asked questions, and other resources on http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/. Here you can:

Food Safety The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed that based on current information, there is no risk to the U.S. food supply.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over 80 percent of the food supply, including seafood, dairy, and produce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates meat, poultry, and processed egg products, while FDA regulates all other food products.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that Japan has not exported any beef products to the United States for nearly a year.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that Japan is not currently eligible to export any poultry or processed egg products to the U.S.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Customs and Border Protection carefully screen all food products for unsafe substances, including radiological material at Ports of Entry.
  • Learn more about keeping food safe during an emergency.
Potassium Iodide (KI) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend that people in the United States take potassium iodide supplements (also called KI) in response to the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan.

  • Only take KI on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials, or your doctor.
  • There are health risks associated with taking KI.
Food, Mail, Ships, and Cargo from Japan The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is monitoring developments in Japan carefully and uses several types of radiation detection equipment in air and sea ports, mail facilities, and elsewhere to ensure safety.

  • CBP and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration carefully screen all food products for unsafe substances, including radiological material, at Ports of Entry.
  • All inbound travelers, baggage, and cargo are screened for radiological materials.
  • CBP employs radiation monitors at international mail facilities.
American Citizens in Japan American Embassy in Japan All U.S. citizens in Japan should continue to carefully monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Authorized Departures The U.S. government has authorized the voluntary departure from Japan of eligible family members of U.S. government personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya, the Foreign Service Institute Field School in Yokohama, and U.S. Forces Japan.

Evacuations Travel to and from Japan The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time and those in Japan should consider departing.

Disaster Preparedness The tragic events in Japan remind us that disasters can strike at any time. The best way to make sure your family is taken care of when disaster strikes is to be prepared.

Donations and Relief Efforts
  • Donate - Your donation to the American Red Cross will support disaster relief efforts in Japan.
  • Text your donation
    • Red Cross - Redcross to 90999
    • Convoy of Hope - Tsunami to 50555
    • GlobalGiving - Japan to 50555
    • World Relief Corp. - Wave to 50555
    • Project HOPE - Health to 90999
    • Operation Blessing - Bless to 50555
    • Southeast - VOA to 27722
Technical Assistance to Japan The United States has deployed highly skilled teams to Japan, along with 17,200 pounds of equipment, to conduct aerial and ground monitoring, provide technical assistance, and help Japan track and assess the impact of the situation a the Fukushima nuclear power plants. This includes both Aerial Monitoring Systems and Consequence Management Teams from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, which have unique skills, expertise, and equipment to help assess, survey, monitor, and sample areas for radiation.

Nuclear experts from the Department of Energy and the independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are also providing advice, analysis, and technical assistance to the Japanese government.

Additional Information
  • Earthquake in Japan - See facts from the U.S. Geological Survey about the 9.0 earthquake.
  • Earthquake Preparedness and Response - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides helpful tips on how to prepare for an earthquake and what to do during a quake.
  • Earthquakes, Flooding, and Radiation - The National Institutes of Health provides information and resources about natural disasters and their effects.
  • Tsunami Health Effects - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the immediate, secondary, and long-term health effects of a tsunami.
  • Tsunami Preparedness - The Federal Emergency Management Agency explains what a tsunami is and provides guidance on what to do during a tsunami watch or warning.
  • Radiation - Read about the assistance and expertise that the U.S. Department of Energy is providing to Japanese response and recovery efforts.
  • Food Safety - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service provides guidance on food safety in the event of a tsunami.
Contact Your Government
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: March 25, 2011

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