- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 1953 Hour
- Reading permission
Chinese across the country emptied supermarkets of iodized salt even though government health officials warned that ingesting it would not protect against radiation exposure.|
residents flooded supermarket looking for iodized salt after numberous posting on popular Internat chat sites that it can also protect people from radiation-ralated diseases.
In an interview Tuesday night, Zhang Wei, quality management director at the Ministry of Health's National Institute for Radiological Protection, said the level of iodine in salt is far too low to provide any protection.
"Eating iodized salt will do nothing to protect a person from nuclear radiation," he said. "Even eating two Kilos of salt won't help. More likely, it could kill a person."
Nonetheless, in downtown Beijing, Huapu Hypermarket completely sold out of salt Thurday morning. Clerks stocked five shelves with bags of rice instead. In a ten-minute period during the mid-afternoon, severn customers arrived asking for salt, including the 45-year-old mother of a toddler who said she had learned of its health benefits against radiation from QQ, one of China's most popular internet chat sites.
In Jiangsu province north of Shanghai, Zhu Bei, a 25-year-old teacher, said people lined up outside her local supermarket and cleared the shelves of salt before 10 a.m. At her mother's request, she tried several otehr markets but came up empty-handed.
She said she tried to reassure her mother that the salt would do no good anyway. "Save the lecture," her mother replied irritably. "You can't get us some salt."
China's National Salt Industry Corporation, a state-owned company and China's biggest salt producer, asked its subsidiaries to ramp up distribution of salt to places where panic buying had occurred, a spokesman said. He said the company's website had so many hits Thursday it was disabled.
By Sharon LaFRANIERE