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Potassium Iodide as radiation protection for the thyroid

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by RobH, Mar 14, 2011.

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  1. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    I just got a email alert from my doctor recommending consumption potassium iodide daily for the next 30 days. The first plume of radiation from the Fukushima power plant is expected to reach the US west coast on next Monday, March 21. The recommendation is 130 mg per day for adults, down to 15 mg per day for newborns. It should be taken for at least a week, and perhaps out to 6 weeks. The best protection occurs when consumed starting 4 days before exposure.

    Retail supplies of potassium iodide are certainly going to be in short supply soon, if not already. So even if you don't believe it's necessary to consume it yet, I'd still recommend obtaining a supply in case the authorities actually call for it.

    A website dedicated to the issue is at Potassium Iodide Pills Anti-Radiation Pill & Nuclear Emergency FAQ. Radiation Detectors, Meters, Geiger Counters & Potassium Iodine Iodate pills . If you want to buy their tablets, you're already too late. They are not accepting new orders at this time.
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    You've got to understand, Rob, that this post reads like spam. And fear-mongering spam at that.
    Before we cause Prius-wide panic, can you provide any additional information on this.
    Is there a doctor in the house?
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    my in-laws live near the pilgrim nuke in plymouth, ma and everyone was issued a supply to keep on hand in case of an accident. in lieu of a doctor, i suppose a link to the news report would do.
  4. davesrose

    davesrose Active Member

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    It is fear mongering: potasium iodide helps the thyroid if you get exposed to radioactive iodine (which is aparently an element emitted in a nuclear incident), but not the whole body from outside radiation. Aparently, I've seen one news report that says Americans are succoming to this scam and buying potasium iodide. I'm pretty sure that everyone, including Americans in Hawaii, are going to get more radiation from the sun then from any nuclear event in Japan. The CDC's policy is that only those in a 10 mile radius of a nuclear plant should consider having potasium iodide.

    CDC Radiation Emergencies | Potassium Iodide (KI)
  5. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    All the atomic blasts done in the US in the 1950's showed quite clearly that radioactive fallout travels quite successfully in very long plumes to specific spots in the right weather conditions. It's very unlikely that the US has a significant worry, but not impossible.
  6. davesrose

    davesrose Active Member

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    With large nuclear bombs that's more possible (since they're not controlled and have a much more concentrated half-life radiation). Here's another link from an interview with a MIT nuclear expert, who estimates levels at a "worst case scenario"...certainly a concern for the immediate area around the plant, but I don't see it being able to go across the Pacific:

    Japan Nuclear Fallout: How Bad Could It Get? - The Daily Beast
  7. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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  8. davesrose

    davesrose Active Member

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    The trade winds also carried radiation during Chernobyl, but the area for lethal doses was confined to the area (Europe recieved negligable radiation levels). The nuclear reactors are supposed to have less radiation during a "worst case scenario" then Chernobyl. From what I've heard, radiation is more likely to be carried by trade winds then jet streams.

    Possible Fukushima Nuclear Fallout Projections For the U.S. Based on Wind Patterns | Alexander Higgins Blog

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chernobyl_radiation_map_1996.svg
  9. DavidA

    DavidA Prius owner since July 2009

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    Lots of "junk" science out there. Beware of false reports of radiation. I read Phil's blog at Discovery almost every day and find it gives me a better perspective on events that get over-reported. Here is today's post that deals with Fukushima. I'm sure more posts there will follow in the days ahead.
  10. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    I don't expect US authorities to recommend any particular action to protect against airborn radioactive iodine from the Fukushima explosions. The official reaction will generally be silence, and if pressed, assurance that the levels experienced in NA are not a significant risk to human health.

    There certainly will not be any of the intense effects like will happen to the emergency workers on scene.

    My concern, invoked by my endocrinologist, is that radioactive iodine carried by the prevailing winds represents a credible danger. That danger can be minimized by consumption of sufficient potassium iodide before the arrival of the radioactive form. Think of it as similar to tightening your seatbelt when a pilot announces that there is turbulance ahead.

    Government's track record on accurate prediction of dangers of emergency situations is less than comforting. The workers cleaning up after 911 were assured that the scene was safe to work. Yet the experience has been that many of the workers are now suffering from lung conditions that are probably due to toxic exposures.

    A nuclear dust cloud drifted over Los Angeles from an above-ground test in Nevada in the early 1950s. It was at least 40+ years before it was reported. The timing just happens to correlate with when my brother-in-law was born with a rare blood condition generally considered caused by radiation. Sometimes Chicken Little tells the truth.

    It all comes down to who you pay attention to, who you trust, and how much they actually know. I'm taking the potassium iodide that my doctor recommends. It will be decades before the actual importance is reported in some obscure academic journal.
  11. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    If you do feel compelled to take potassium iodide supplements, make sure you stay within the guidelines. Too much iodide will cause immediate problems with your thyroid. It would be unfortunate to trade for an immediate health problem while trying to avoid a potential future problem.

    Tom
  12. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    We caught a few minutes of "The View" this morning on TV (we were staying in a hotel last night), and the network "medical expert" MD was discussing taking iodine. His opinion (and, bear in mind, he's a "doctor" paid by a TV network to entertain the masses) was that taking the recommended dose was not going to hurt anyone.

    Personally, DH and I will be taking iodine for a few weeks. I already have some in the cupboard, as I occasionally remember to take it when my hands/feet start getting too cold (previously suggested by my own doctor).
  13. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    Iodine isnt the same as Potassium Iodide.
    Iodine is poisonous.



  14. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    Actually, while Potassium Iodide is mentioned as what to take, consider these articles:

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002421.htm
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/a...er-how-iodine-pills-protect-against-radiation
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/us-quake-japan-iaea-iodine-idUSTRE72B2GI20110312

    Just because I used "verbal shorthand" to refer to it, does not mean that I was saying anything incorrect.
  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I find it very hard to believe that an MD would recommend as Rob wrote.
    A quack, yes.

    DaveRose summarized the important details: KI only competes with radioactive iodine at the level of thyroid uptake;

    2. Radiation exposure decreases exponentially with distance.

    -- your friendly neighborhood internist.
    1 person likes this.
  16. davesrose

    davesrose Active Member

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    I hope he mentioned that most people get adequate levels of iodine from iodized salt....something tells me he didn't:rolleyes: I at least hope he didn't recommend levels that were too high (as that's as bad as having a iodine deficiency).
  17. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    RobH has a history of advocating crank therapies. Not too long ago it was Vitamin D, and before that a wound therapy.

    I'll give him the benefit of the doubt (for now) that he is not posting for personal profit, but is just an uninformed, slightly paranoid new-age type hypochondriac. He can have a lovely discussion with my MIL.
  18. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    I read this on the intertubes so it might be true. It makes sense.

    The biggest radioactive iodine danger is from dairy products. The fall out falls in the fields, cows eat the grass and pass it on in the milk. Supposedly in a more concentrated form that you will get from direct exposure. Naturally, wholesome dairy cows that only eat grass in the field would give the most radioactive milk.

    So far I'm not concerned about US dairy products but when I start hearing dairy industry spokesman vehemently denying the possibility of a problem I will be come suspicious.:eek:
  19. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Cows still eat grass? I didn't know they were even allowed outside any more.
  20. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    If I remember right, once you get enough of the iodine in ya, don't you have to start using salt without it...