From salt to smoothies: preparing for a nuclear cloud

Photo published on the Twitter profile @American_hero, an American living in Manteca who says he’s "ready for the plume"
 
Low-level radiation from Fukushima’s stricken nuclear power plant is slowly spreading across the globe and some people are worried about the risk of contamination. Some have come up with - let's say creative - ways to protect themselves.
 
Experts say it is currently difficult to determine the impact the cloud might have on human health. They add that cloud's level of radioactivity decreases as it spreads across the planet,  and so far only minor traces of radiation have been detected in countries outside Japan.
 
Nevertheless, a growing number of people feel the need to stock up on iodine, a substance which is known to diminish the risks of thyroid cancer linked to radiation.
 
In the United States, many pharmacies sold out of iodine capsules as the cloud neared the Californian coast last week, while in China, which probably won’t be affected at all, people have flocked to supermarkets to buy iodized salt.
 
However, according to medical experts, over-consumption of iodine-based substances is not recommended for healthy people and can cause diarrhoea, vomiting or hives. Furthermore, iodine can only mitigate the effects of certain, but not all, types of radiation.

"This irrational rush on salt is a symptom of mistrust in the government"

Christophe Rovan owns a restaurant in Beijing.
 
All the shops have been cleaned out of salt, especially in Beijing. This is absurd because the Chinese want iodine salt. Salt which is sold here mainly comes from the Himalayas and Tibet, therefore it does not contain iodine. Some panicked friends have also stormed the pharmacies searching for iodine pills.
 
I think that this irrational rush on salt is a symptom of a deep mistrust in the government. The Chinese media [controlled by the government] state that no radioactive cloud will cross the Chinese border and that the wind will send the radioactive plume towards the Pacific. But even if the government is probably right, the people do not trust them.
 
In my restaurant, I only have two more boxes of sea salt, which is rich in iodine! I am going to use it to prepare some nice beef steaks. But I mustn't exaggerate what is going on here. There is no widespread panic amongst the Chinese."
 
 
"Salt panic" in Ningbo on the east coast of China. Photo published and later deleted. A run on salt also took place in the capital Beijing. Click here to see the photos on Kanzhongguo.

"It is obvious that we will be affected by the radioactive cloud"

Chef David Wells, aka “GrandmaDave", is 45-years-old. He lives in Santa Cruz where he is a nutritionist and personal Hollywood trainer. He posted a video recipe on YouTube for an “Iodine rich California Smoothie”.
 
I live really close to the Pacific Ocean and my heart goes out to the Japanese people. I hope that we will continue to do all that we can to alleviate the suffering of the people and not dwell on what is happening to us 10,000 kilometres away.
 
That being said, it is obvious that we will be affected by the radioactive plume. My only question is to what extent? We should prepare ourselves for the worst. I’m not afraid. We should be prepared and be ready to help others.
 
 
Video on the YouTube page of GrandMaDave
 
 
I really think that all of the ingredients in my smoothie can help the thyroid of those people who are exposed to low-level radiation. However, it is so nutritious that it helps to fight any illness.
 
The quake, the tsunami and the nuclear leak in Japan should make us re-evaluate our preparedness, in case one day we were to be faced with such misfortune."
 

The plume in the subconscious of Americans

 
"Dreams on a radioactive cloud" online on theTwitpic profile of Strangeloop, an artist in Los Angeles.
 
Paranoia in California
 
"You see? You see! It's there... oh no." A man films the clouds in California and thinks he sees the Japanese radioactive plume. Video posteed on the YouTube profile of Jamicole.
Article written in collaboration with Paul Larrouturou, journalist ar France 24.
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