Naoko Fujimura, Kathleen Chu and Frederik Balfour
March 23, 2011

Tokyo residents should avoid giving tap water to infants after radioactive iodine was found in the city’s supply at levels twice the limit for infants, the metropolitan government said.

Iodine-131 was detected at 210 becquerel per kilogram at the Kanamachi purification plant in Tokyo’s Katsushika district, compared with a limit of 100 becquerel per kilogram for infants, the water department said in a statement today. The recommended limit for adults is 300.

Children are susceptible to radiation poisoning from iodine, which can accumulate in the thyroid and cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The announcement sent beverage-maker stocks surging in Tokyo trading and caused panic-buying of bottled water in supermarkets.

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