Official plays down risks of radiation from Japan for Los Angeles

09:37, March 16, 2011      

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A top health official on Tuesday played down risks of nuclear radiation from Japan for Los Angeles, saying it was "very, very unlikely" for residents in the area to be exposed to such radiation.

Such a risk was "minimal" and "very remote", said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health.

"There is minimal risk of harmful exposure," Fielding said.

Although exposure was "very, very unlikely," federal and local agencies were continuously monitoring levels of radiation in the air, food and water supply with equipment that is "exquisitely sensitive," said Fielding.

"You have probably the most active and comprehensive monitoring that has ever existed," he said.

Fielding also urged residents not to take potassium iodide, an over-the-counter remedy which can saturate a person's thyroid for 24 hours and protect it from the intake of radioactive iodine.

Fears for radiation exposure have prompted some residents to rush to buy potassium iodide in the past few days.

"There is no reason for purchase of potassium iodide at this time," Fielding said, adding that although it is usually not harmful, some people can have allergic reactions and it can cause stomach upset and rashes even in those without allergies.

Source: Xinhua
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