Video: Dozens monitored for radiation exposure

  1. Closed captioning of: Dozens monitored for radiation exposure

    >> ordered tens of thousands of people now to stay inside. stay indoors. scientists say radioactive levels are now dropping at the facility. so far 150,000 residents have been monitored for high levels. decontamination procedures were used on 23 people. nbc news chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman joins me on set. we hear about these people decontaminated. how do you treat somebody?

    >> the first thing you do is monitor them and wash them off. so much of the radiation gets on your skin. you can minimize it by doing showers. bigger risk comes as this sort of settles into the ground. and this is an agricultural area. long-term, you have radiation in the soil, then in the grass, then get into live stock. for right now it is surface contamination on skin.

    >> for the people that were on board the ronald reagan that were exposed they said they just used soap and water.

    >> that's fine. you just want to get it off your skin. for a lot of people, they're taking the iodine tablets because radioactive iodine is taken up quickly by the thyroid gland which can cause cancer later. if you ingest the good medicine, it can block the bad from being absorbed. i'm not sure there's enough to go around and i'm not sure people have taken it earlier enough.

    >> people. living within 20 miles of this facility told to stay inside. say they have laundry hanging outside.

    >> don't go get it.

    >> you don't want to touch those things.

    >> this is the duct tape part of the equation where you come down to something as simple as duct taping windows and doors to minimize any of that outside air coming in. so you hope that people have enough food and water inside because outside, errands are not prudent. i would not be surprised if the evacuation area doesn't get wider and wider and wider. we've already watched this over the last couple of days, and that wouldn't surprise me.

    >> interestingly enough, are you surprised though that i was just getting materials today that this potassium iodide running low at certain american manufacturers.

    >> a lot of people in california think the jet stream is going to bring the radiation here. it will be dissipated. from what i understand on the web, it's the hottest selling item right now.

    >> manufacturers are saying they haven't seen orders like this in a long time.

    >> the big thing to watch for is not today. it's five, 10, 15 years down as we monitor the population to look for a cancer bump. i would not be surprised at all if there would be one.

    >> thanks so much for coming on.

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Interactive: Japan before and after the disaster

These aerial photos show locations in Japan before and after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck March 11. Use the slider below the images to reveal the changes in the landscape.

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