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Obama weighs in to allay US radiation fears

By Laura Brown - 18 Mar 2011 15:21:0 GMT
Obama weighs in to allay US radiation fears

President Obama is working to calm a nervous population over fears of radiation level increasing in the US after Japan's nuclear crisis.

Sales of Geiger counters and potassium iodide have increased in the West Coast after reports low level radiation could drift across the Pacific. Officials estimate it would take five or six days for the particles to cross from Japan. The levels would pose no risk to the population and as of yet, levels have not increased according to measurements in America and Canada.

Last night (Thursday) President Obama took to the airwaves in a televised address to reiterate the message of scientists and officials, ''We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it is the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories in the Pacific. That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts.''

Despite that the prices of potassium iodide tablets, that absorb radiation iodine, and Geiger counters that measure levels of radiation have become vastly inflated due to demand. Two big online sellers of the tablets say they've sold out.

Donn Moyer from Washington's Department of Health told Reuters people could be making themselves sick by taking the tablets, ''there is no need to protect yourself because there is no threat.''

The California Department of Public Health issued a warning against taking potassium iodide, saying it can be harmful to people with thyroid problems and anyone with a known or undiagnosed allergy to iodine or shellfish.