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Radiation over Shanghai at 'extremely low' level

Radioactive material has been detected in the air above Shanghai and other southeastern coastal areas, monitoring authorities said yesterday. But the levels were "extremely low" and would not affect public health or the environment, they said. The findings were revealed in a statement issued by China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee. According to the statement, experts said no protective measures were needed against the material, believed to have been dispersed through the air from the quake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The committee said the detected levels of radioactive iodine-131 were below one-hundred-thousandth of natural background radiation and not considered harmful. Monitoring The same material had been detected over northeastern Heilongjiang Province at the weekend. The latest find was in the air above Shanghai, the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Guangdong, and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. So far, monitoring stations in other parts of the country haven't found radioactive substances related to the nuclear crisis in Japan. Su Guodong, an engineer with the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said the bureau was strictly following the results of the monitoring and closely working with other government departments on the issue. "The detected iodine-131 is very low in Shanghai and won't impact people's health," he said. "The public shouldn't panic. The daily monitoring data is publicized on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the government will carry out appropriate measures." The Ministry of Health has ordered food safety watchdogs in 14 provinces and municipalities, including Shanghai, in the northeast and coastal regions to launch radioactive checks on food and drinking water. Food samples Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said yesterday it hadn't detected any food exceeding the standard so far. Officials went to local supermarkets, wet markets and restaurants to conduct spot checks and take food sa! mples fo r analysis yesterday. Two previous checks on March 19 and 23 hadn't found anything abnormal. The food being checked has been broadened from aquatic products to green-leaf vegetables and dairy products. "The checked food also includes domestic products such as aquatic products from Dalian, where it is more likely to be tainted by the nuclear crisis in Japan," said Li Jie, vice director of Shanghai Food and Drug Supervision Agency. Food samples collected yesterday have been sent to the laboratories of the Institute of Radiation Medicine of Fudan University and Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It will take a day before the results are known. Staff at the institute said yesterday its lab hadn't found any problems so far. No iodine-131 or caesium-137, the two substances directly related to the nuclear leak in Japan, had been found in food, the institute said.

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