March 19, 2011 / 11:37 AM / 8 years ago

Poles take iodine against Japan nuclear radiation

WARSAW (Reuters) - Pharmacies in several Polish cities were running out of iodine Saturday as people rushed to buy medicine to protect themselves from radiation from the Japanese nuclear crisis.

Poland is half the world away from Japan and authorities say there is no danger, but its citizens have powerful memories of the radiation emergency they faced in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, in what is now neighboring Ukraine.

Back then, authorities distributed a treatment called Lugol’s iodine syrup on a mass scale. Pharmacists said poles were again buying the syrup just in case.

“We have noticed increased interest in iodine syrups and pills lately. They are no longer available. We’ve run out,” a salesman at a Warsaw pharmacy told the Polsat News broadcaster.

Experts said there was no reason to take iodine in Poland and warned the public that it could be dangerous.

“Such medicines taken without prior consultations with a doctor can have serious side-effects. If there is a danger, we will inform the public about that and everybody will get medicine,” said Maciej Hamankiewicz of the Chamber of Physicians and Dentists.

Writing by Gabriela Baczynska

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