Panicked Chinese Hoard Salt After Japan's Quake

Shoppers buy rumor that it protects against radiation
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2011 5:04 PM CDT
Panicked Chinese Hoard Salt After Japan's Quake
Shoppers line up to pay for packets of salt at the cashier of a supermarket in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

With Japan and its stricken nuclear reactors in mind, waves of misinformation and panic are sweeping through China. Shoppers have cleaned shelves of iodized salt, believing rumors that it can protect against radioactive exposure—table salt doesn't have enough iodine to do that—or that China's supply will be contaminated, reports AP.

Text messages are also making the rounds, warning of plumes of radioactive vapor floating across the Sea of Japan. Chinese officials expressed frustration with their Japanese peers for releasing many confusing and sometimes contradictory bulletins on the disaster, which stoke the rumor mill. "We hope the Japanese side will release information to the public in a timely and precise manner as well as its evaluation and prediction of the situation," said a foreign ministry rep. (More China stories.)

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