Potassium Iodide (KI) fills the thyroid cells and prevents the gland from absorbing radioactive iodine for approximately 24 hours. However, those attempting to take KI for prevention before being exposed and for prolonged periods may cause hypothyroidism and other conditions.
The growing concern surrounding the release of radiation from an earthquake and tsunami-stricken nuclear complex in Japan has raised fears of radiation exposure to populations in North America from the potential plume of radioactivity crossing the Pacific Ocean.
The principal radiation source of concern, in regard to impact on health, is radioactive iodine including iodine-131.This presents a special risk to health because exposure of the thyroid to high levels may lead to development of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer years later.
Radioactive iodine uptake to the thyroid can be blocked by taking (KI) pills. However, KI should not be taken unless there is a clear risk of exposure to consistent levels of radioactive iodine. There are currently no accurate estimates of harmful radiation levels affecting the thyroid gland or general health, however this could change in the coming days or weeks.
The hoarding of KI in the United States is especially of concern since the demand spear-headed by fear has outstripped supplies. This may lead to excessive dosing or overdosing of KI.
KI can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes, salivary gland inflammation, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism in a small percentage of people. Prolonged treatment can become a serious problem for very young children.
If there is a high exposure to radioactive iodine, the benefits of ingesting KI would still outweigh the risks, however it is essential for the public to research natural alternatives to Potassium Iodide. It also imperative to ingest non-radioactive forms of foods that may have been contaminated. "Food and water contamination is a serious issue and needs the be addressed," said Fatima Manilla, a spokeperson for the foodwatch EU division.
KI is an adjunct to evacuation, sheltering (staying in an unventilated room with the doors and windows closed), and avoiding contaminated food, milk, and water. KI should not take the place of any other protective measures.
The World Health Organization endorses KI distribution. France, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland not only stockpile KI but predistribute KI to their populations.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.