Nuclear Meltdown

Radiation fears boost sales of seaweed in S Korea

Updated: 2011-03-21 16:43
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SEOUL - Sales of products rumored to prevent radiation poisoning have seen a drastic increase in South Korea amid growing fears over radiation fallout from Japan reaching Seoul, the closest foreign capital to the stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima, according to local media on Monday.

Customers have gone on a buying spree of dried seaweed and kelp out of a belief its iodine content can protect against radiation poisoning.

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Local discount retail chain Lotte Mart said sales of dried seaweed and kelp at its 90 branches across the country for the period between March 16 and 19 rose 91.9 percent and 175.7 percent respectively compared to a week ago.

"Despite the reduced number of Japanese customers after the earthquake, sales of laver are still strong. Sales of kelp and dried seaweed have seen a rise among  South Korean and Japanese customers after the earthquake,"said Chung Yoon-sook, a salesperson at a Lotte Mart branch in Seoul Station.

Sales of salt also advanced drastically amid spreading rumors that it can ward off radiation. During the period of between March 18 and 19, sales of salt at 90 branches of Lotte Mart surged 129 percent compared to a week ago.

Batteries and lanterns are popular among Japanese tourists as they rush to stock up essential items before returning home.

Baby products imported from Japan have reported a sharp increase in sales immediately after the earthquake owing to predictions that supply quantities would run short. Customers flock to online shopping sites that sell Japanese diapers, and almost all sites have run out of the products.