March 16, 2011 / 11:34 AM / in 7 years

FACTBOX-Steps to reduce radiation exposure

 March 16 (Reuters) - Levels of radioactivity are low in
places away from the immediate vicinity of Japan's
quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant, but people remain
worried about sudden exposure to large volumes of airborne
 Here are some measures people can take to protect themselves
from identified radiation sources:	
 -- Evacuation and distance. Those closest to the radiation
are at greatest risk of exposure and the greater the distance
away, the lower the risk. Japan has asked people living within
20 km of the power plant to evacuate and those between 20 km and
30 km away to stay indoors. People living farther away are at
lower risk than those who live nearby.	
 -- Sheltering. The best precaution from a radioactive cloud
is to stay indoors and minimise any ventilation that might bring
in contaminated air. Doors and windows should be closed.    	
 -- Washing. When a person is exposed to radioactive
substances, like contaminated dust, liquid or aerosols, these
can be washed off the skin or clothes with soap and water.	
 -- Supplements. Potassium iodide tablets can saturate the
thyroid gland and prevent the uptake of radioactive iodine. When
given before or shortly after exposure, this can reduce the risk
of cancer in the long term.	
 -- Diet. Radiation destroys essential vitamins, fatty acids,
calcium and neuro-hormones. Eating plenty of natural, fresh,
organic and unprocessed foods will protect and restore these
 -- Shielding. Barriers of lead, concrete or water give good
protection from high levels of penetrating radiation such as
gamma rays. Intensely radioactive materials are often stored or
handled under water, or by remote control in rooms constructed
of thick concrete or lined with lead.	
 Sources: World Health Organisation, World Nuclear
 (Complied by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)	

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