WHO: no significant spread of nuke radiation from Japan

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A World Health Organization (WHO) official issued a statement Wednesday to clear up rumors of the spread of nuclear radiation from Japan's crippled nuclear power plant.

"The WHO would like to assure governments and members of the public that there is no evidence at this time of any significant international spread from the nuclear site," said WHO China representative Dr. Michael O'Leary in the statement.

Rumors have been circulating via text messages saying a radiation cloud rising from Japan was spreading across Asia and beyond.

WHO radiological experts have been working closely with Japanese authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and assess the evolving situation, he said.

Based on the information available to date, WHO believes that there is currently no significant risk to human health for anyone living outside the 30 km exclusion zone, he said.

He also called on governments and members of the public to take steps to halt the rumors, which are "harmful to public morale."

Rumors had resulted in people panic buying salt in China as information had been relayed that radiative leaks into the sea from Japan's nuclear power plants would compromise the safety of salt taken from the sea in the future.

Another reason people snapped up salt is that salt with iodine is believed to help protect people from the effects of nuclear radiation.

Xinhua reporters found salt shelves in many supermarkets in Beijing empty.

China National Salt Industry Corp. on Thursday said China has rich salt reserves to meet consumer demand and people need not panic and hoard salt.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck parts of Japan on March 11, leaving thousands dead and severe damage.

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