News / Asia

Radiation Scare Prompts South Korea Salt Shortage

Table salt
Table salt

Stores across South Korea are seeing salt disappear from shelves.

Buyers say they want to stock up ahead of possible contamination from radiation in Japan. Others are under the impression that ingesting it offers protection from radioactive iodine.

South Koreans have gone on a salt buying binge. That has prompted the price of salt to nearly double since this time a year ago.

Some are calling it an irrational reaction to the nuclear power plant accident in Japan.

Seoul housewife Lee Jeong-hwa says she heard that sea water could start being affected by radiation from Japan by Wednesday, if not earlier.

Lee says that is why she went out today to buy some salt produced before the nuclear accident. She explains she is trying to get pregnant and does not want to eat contaminated salt.

The branch manager of a Lotte Market in downtown Seoul, Kang Dae-hee, says his store used to sell one or two packs of salt per day.

Kang says recently that has increased to seven or eight packs and, even, sometimes 10 daily. He explains that foreign tourists are coming by frequently and also buying unusual quantities of seaweed products, such as kelp, which also is a source of iodine.

Panic salt buying was reported last month in China. That prompted the government there to launch a crackdown on hoarding and price gouging.

Scientists and authorities express skepticism about such reactions from consumers. They note that radiation, except for the immediate areas surrounding the Fukushima, Japan nuclear facility, is not likely to register at any level of concern to human health. They also say ingesting salt will not protect against radioactive iodine fallout.

Dr. Ahn Young-sil, a professor of nuclear medicine at the Ajou Medical Center in Suwon city, says seaweed and salt products do not contain enough iodine to prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing the amount of radiation that would be spewed from a significant nuclear disaster. And she warns that consuming these products in large quantities could cause other health problems.

The Salt Institute, in the United States, says a person would have to eat more than one-and-a-half kilograms of iodized table salt daily to stop the thyroid from being able to absorb harmful particles.

South Korea’s Institute of Nuclear Safety reports that very small amounts of radioactive iodine and cesium have been detected in the country. It says analysis of air samples taken at 12 locations across the nation Sunday and Monday revealed traces of radioactive iodine in all areas.

The Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, on Japan’s northeastern coast, was severely damaged by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11. Overheated nuclear fuel rods and steam from the crippled plant have vented radiation into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, radioactive water from the facility has been spilling into the Pacific Ocean. That includes water containing radioactive iodine measured at levels millions of times the legal limit.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid