Panic buying around world to prevent radiation poisoning
Published 18/03/2011 | 05:00
As nuclear panic began to spread around the world yesterday, pharmacies and supermarkets thousands of miles from Japan began to run out of anything and everything that was even rumoured to prevent radiation poisoning.
Russia saw a run on red wine and seaweed; in China people were buying massive amounts of salt, and chemists as far away as Bulgaria reported shortages of iodine tablets.
No matter how many scientists were wheeled out to reassure people that radiation levels outside Japan would not pose a threat, widespread distrust meant thousands placed faith in old wives' tales.
In China, the government called for calm after shoppers bought up huge quantities of salt believing it contains enough iodine to block radiation. In China iodine is added to salt to help prevent iodine deficiency.
The mere mention of the word iodine was enough to prompt panic buying of salt amid fears that a change in the wind direction could blow a radioactive cloud across China. (© Daily Telegraph, London)