'Cure-all power cards' could actually be killers

'Cure-all power cards' could actually be killers

An official of the Office of Atoms for Peace examines a
An official of the Office of Atoms for Peace examines a "power card" sample. (Photo supplied)

The Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) has found that so-called "cure-all power cards" sold for up to 1,500 baht apiece in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen emit a very dangerous level of radiation -- and users of the cards risk cancer.

OAP, Thailand's nuclear regulation and research body, stated on its website on Monday that after thoroughly examining samples of the cards, its staff found they contained uranium and thorium, and emitted a radioactivity level of about 40 microsieverts per hour.

That level is about 350 times people's safe maximum annual exposure to radiation, the office stated.

"If it contaminates drinking water, there will be even more risk of cancer," the OAP warned. "People should not keep [the cards]... If uranium and thorium enter the human body, internal organs will be exposed to radiation, causing serious harm, " 

The office was responding to reports that buyers of such "power cards" in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen were using them to stir cups of water and then drinking it to relieve pain. Reports also said that some buyers were placing cups of water on the cards for about 10 seconds before drinking, or were pressing the cards onto parts of their bodies in the hopes of pain relief.

The OAP reported that the cards -- similar in size to an ATM card -- emit radiation from all sides.  

Besides the health dangers, the office warned that owners of such cards could be considered to be violating the Nuclear Energy for Peace Act by possessing radioactive substances.

Its staff planned to conduct further tests for radioactive contamination when the cards are dipped into water. With results from the tests, the OAP could take legal action against the cards' distributor, it stated.

The cards came from Expert Pro Network Co in Hat Yai district of the southern province of Songkhla. The company also distributed dietary supplement products and was facing legal action for alleged mislabelling of its products.

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