Radiation fears cause run on potassium iodide
U.S. public health officials say people here have no reason to worry about radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plants.
This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.
Californians are fearful that damage to Japanese nuclear power plants will leave them dusted with harmful amounts of radiation. That's creating a land rush business for the few U.S. manufacturers of potassium iodide.
Potassium iodide is administered to protect the thyroid gland from radiation poisoning when one is exposed to high doses of radiation. It blocks absorption of harmful radioactive iodine. Post continues after video.
But is this really necessary in California? Health officials say no and caution that there is a risk of side effects in people who are allergic to shellfish or who have existing thyroid problems.
One public health official noted that Japan evacuated residents who live within 12 miles of the troubled nuclear plants. The U.S. West Coast is more than 5,000 miles from Japan, which would seem to minimize the risk of harm, he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that fearful Americans had bought up nearly all of the existing supplies of potassium iodide from companies such as Anbex Inc., of Williamsburg, Va.
"Those who don't get it are crying. They're terrified," a company official said.
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