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China underplays low levels of radiation in north-east news
28 March 2011

Chinese health authorities have dismissed the low levels of radioactive particles, blown from the crippled Japanese nuclear reactors, and detected over its north-eastern province of Heilongjiang over the weekend, as 'extremely weak' and 'trivial.'

While health authorities have started monitoring food and water samples for radiation contamination in more than a dozen cities and provinces in the north-eastern part of the country, they asserted on Monday that the weak radiation levels detected so far does not pose a threat to public health.

The National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee, which detected the radiation levels (of iodine-131), claimed that even if the current levels got accumulated, the annual radiation dosage would not be harmful.

The massive earthquake in Japan on March 11, followed by the giant tsunami, crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leading to fears of a massive leakage. Authorities in the north-eastern part of China have been on the alert for radiation being blown over by the wind.

According to a spokesman of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the low levels of radioactive iodine 131 did not pose any health risks. He urged residents not to start taking iodine pills, wear masks or stay indoors.

Last week, there were panic conditions across the country, as shoppers in cities including Beijing and Shanghai emptied supermarket shelves of salt, fearing widespread nuclear radiation. Many consumers bought more than a year's quota of salt, besides iodide tablets from pharmacies.

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China underplays low levels of radiation in north-east