LOS ANGELES/VANCOUVER - North America is at little risk of receiving harmful levels of radiation from Japan's nuclear crisis, officials said on Thursday, but that has not stopped a scramble on the West Coast for items like potassium iodide and Geiger counters.
Low concentrations of radioactive particles from Japan's stricken nuclear plants are expected to drift over the Pacific Ocean, but nothing has been detected by US or Canadian monitoring stations, officials said.
Health and safety authorities sought to reassure nervous residents that any radioactive particles would disperse as they cross the Pacific from Japan and not pose a public risk when they arrive. Even President Barack Obama weighed in.
"We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it is the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or US territories in the Pacific," Obama said in a televised statement. "That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts."