LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The Department of Homeland Security has begun screening passengers and cargo arriving in LAX from Japan for “even a blip of radiation” as radiation from the ongoing nuclear disaster is expected to arrive in Southern California.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the first particles from the Japanese nuclear plant could arrive in southern California by late Friday, according to a United Nations forecast.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that no harmful levels of radiation have reached the U.S. since the nuclear crisis in Japan sparked by last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Air quality officials are monitoring the atmosphere on an hourly basis, and Neal Sheehan with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says any amount of radioactive particles would be minimal.

Customs and Border Protection, which monitors ports, routinely screens passengers and cargo for radiation. Agents have been advised this week to pay particular attention to arrivals from Japan.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports detectors are now being used at LAX after low-level radiation has reportedly been found in Dallas and Chicago on passengers and planes coming in from Japan.

Napolitano said the screening of passengers and cargo is being done “in an exercise of caution.”

The agency handles more than half a million radiation alarms a year, though most are related to medical procedures.

While online and brick-and-mortar vendors have seen a run on potassium iodide pills, health officials warn they should not be taken without proper guidance.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (36)
  1. Kathy says:

    ALL I KNOW IS THAT THEY BETTER BE QUARANTINING THESE PEOPLE or this is a conspiracy to depopulate the earth!!!! GOD HELP US!!!!!

    1. pteka says:

      whoa kath, relax!

    2. Central-Scrutinizer says:

      Quarantining people who have the equivalent of a couple of chest x-rays and/or CT scans? No need to panic over that.

  2. joesixpack says:

    How about radiation detectors for when passengers emerge from the airport security scanners…

    1. Ted Roberts says:

      They’d never do that. They don’t even allow TSA workers to wear dosimeters to see what kind of exposure they receive on a daily basis. Working at a radiation booth for the TSA the only job in America, working with radiation, where you aren’t forced by OSHA to wear one. The TSA ignores the OSHA rules regarding dosimeters and working with radiation, in the name of national security. But those cancer booths are perfectly safe. Trust them. They know what’s best for you citizen.

  3. puremichigan says:

    whats scary about this is that shouldn’t had these detectors been installed right after september 11th

  4. qwerty says:

    Better keep the detectors away from the full-body scanners. You wouldn’t want people waking up would you?

  5. Peggy says:

    Can the people coming here from Japan bring radiation with them? Is radiation transferable from one person to another?

    1. jub says:

      as i understand it, the radioactivity isnt transferable, its the radioactive particulate (smoke etc) thats transferable and you dont want ingested or on you as the particulate emits radiation. no smoke/particulate touches you, then you have no chance of recieving virtually any radioactivity.

      1. peggy says:

        Thank You Jub, I appreciate your answer

  6. Nathan Pizzo says:

    Panic and stupidity will kill far more people than radiation ever will. The US is filled with ignorant STUPID, uninformed people. We’re doomed — not by nuclear radiation but by our own lack of brain power. It’s astonishing to see the numbers of simpletons there are in this country. It’s like there IS NO education system at all. People cannot even process the simplest logical though process. AMAZING we are still alive!!!

    1. Scott says:

      They lived through two nuclear BOMBS and it didn’t depopulate Japan, let alone anywhere else. Get a grip. (of course those in the direct area at the time suffered greatly. Japan survived)

    2. Josie says:

      You;ve got that right….

  7. Nathan Pizzo says:

    panic and stupidity will kill more people than radiation ever will. The US is filled with ignorant STUPID, uninformed people. We’re doomed — not by nuclear radiation but by our own lack of brain power. It’s astonishing to see the numbers of simpletons there are in this country. It’s like there IS NO education system at all.

    People cannot even process the simplest logical thought process. AMAZING we are still alive!!!

  8. BRIAN says:


  9. leslie says:

    Big Sis is all worried about radiation, but a terrorist is welcome..

    1. Josie says:

      It’s called insanity.

  10. CBO says:

    Maybe they should be checking people who have had to go through the full body scanners to see how much radiation they have. It’s probably more than the passengers getting off planes from Japan. Funny Napolitano isn’t worried about that.

  11. Dave says:

    Here’s the scoop on radiation transfer. This is why the people checking you have the space suits on as they scan your body:

    People who are externally contaminated with radioactive material can contaminate other people or surfaces that they touch. For example, people who have radioactive dust on their clothing may spread the radioactive dust when they sit in chairs or hug other people.
    People who are internally contaminated can expose people near them to radiation from the radioactive material inside their bodies. The body fluids (blood, sweat, urine) of an internally contaminated person can contain radioactive materials. Coming in contact with these body fluids can result in contamination and/or exposure.

  12. Hank Warren says:

    Tepid US response to radiation, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    1. hankwarrenisabot says:

      SYSAD you have been hit by the Hank Warren SPAMBOT

  13. pizzo sucks says:

    Hey Pizzo get a grip

  14. rmiers says:

    I cannot believe that LA did not already have radiation scanners at their airport. Another humongus hole in America’s security.

  15. what_to_Believe says:

    Why was this article titled FALSELY? The piece just said that passengers coming into LA from Japan WERE NOT SCREENED! Why does the headline suggest it was?

  16. Joe-NJ says:

    Numerous atomic blasts in New Mexico, two atom bombs dropped on Japan,
    many atomic tests in Pacific Ocean attols, what happened to all the radiation
    that went into the atmosphere? Was anybody concerned about any of it drifting
    over to the US of A? Obviuosly not, since we built a plant in California at the
    San Andreas fault designed to withstand only a 6.75 earthquake. So what’s
    with the panic with people coming over from Japan? And did anyone check the