Health update: nuclear reactor crisis in Japan

WHO warns against self-medicating against radiation

 WHO is cautioning people concerned about the radiation issues in Japan against self-medicating with potassium iodide or taking products containing iodine. The advice follows reports of people using these substances in response to radiation leaks from nuclear power plants in Japan. Potassium iodide should be taken only when there is a clear public health recommendation to do so.

“WHO is committed to saving lives and reducing suffering in times of crisis,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “With the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster next month, we are all very aware of the possible consequences of nuclear accidents, and our hearts go out to the Japanese people at this time, as they struggle to cope with enormous fortitude with a series of catastrophes.”

Radiation levels in eastern provinces of Russian Federation remain normal

Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian Agency for Consumer Rights and Human Well-being, is monitoring radiation levels in the Sakhalin, Kamchatka, and Magadan regions, in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories of the Russian Federation and in the Chukotka Autonomous District. As of 18 March 2011, radiation levels in this area remain normal.

Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011, and the continuing nuclear power plant crisis, WHO headquarters is working closely with the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, as well as other United Nations agencies to give advice and support.