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Radiation in Tokyo tap water 'unsafe for infants'

23 march 2011, 13:06
Radioactive iodine that exceeds the level considered safe for infants has been detected in Tokyo's tap water, a city official said Wednesday, advising parents not to give it to their babies, AFP reports.

On Saturday, abnormal levels of radioactive iodine had already been detected in the water in Tokyo and in Fukushima prefecture, home to a nuclear power plant critically damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The finding in Tokyo is likely to fuel public safety fears about possible contamination from the plant. Radioactive substances have leaked into the air since the dual disaster, which knocked out the plant's reactor cooling systems.

"Under government guidelines, water containing a radioactive substance of more than 100 becquerels per kilogram should not be used for milk for babies," the city official told reporters.

In one Tokyo ward, a water sample contained more than double the legal limit, at 210 becquerels per kilogram, the official said.

The municipal government has advised residents throughout the city -- not just in the affected ward -- to avoid using tap water to make infant formula until further notice as a precaution.

Traces of radioactive iodine were also found in the tap water at the weekend in the central prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba and Niigata.

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