UPDATE 4-7-11 Scroll to Bottom
UPDATE: 3-18-11 Scroll to Bottom
Here is my advice as of today on whether or not you 'need' potassium iodide tablets in light of the earthquake and tsunami-induced Japan nuclear disaster.
The QUICK answer is NO unless you are in Japan or deployed to or near Japan, period.
Whether or not you will likely 'benefit' from taking iodine in the form of potassium iodide (KI)tablets depends upon a number of factors, including:1) Where you live and work and proximity to the reactors in question.
2) The length of your presumptive 'exposure' to radioactivity from any compromised Japan reactors.
3) The amount of radioactivity you are believed to have been exposed to.
4) The nature of the detection and the measurement of residual 'radiation' you are carrying as evidenced by mechanical testing (Geiger counter, etc) and how it is 'dealt with'.
5) The exact nature of the 'fuel', the 'spent fuel' and the 'waste products' used in and generated by the reactor or reactors you have presumably been exposed to.
6) Barrier defenses between yourself and any breached reactors, including, but not limited to, personal protective 'gear' (NBC-suits, etc), concrete walls, lead shielding, personal and commercial dwelling construction, etc.
7) Your general health and cancer history
8) Your age
9) Whether you are pregnant or not
10) Lifestyle and genetic factors which are always factors in any given individual's 'personal outcome' in cases like this.
11) Whether or not you are likely to be 'deployed' as a military service member, as support personnel or in some other capacity to anywhere near Japan and vicinity.
I will limit my discussion here to the nuclear reactor radioactive waste products, iodine-131 and iodine-129, since these are the only radioisotopes that potassium iodide tablets have any potential ability to 'displace' in the human body.
Aside from standard medical references, the most useful 'links' for my readers for this particular situation are:
LINKS: www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com and those of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) LINK: www.epa.gov and the CDC (The Centers For Disease Control) LINK: www.cdc.gov
For the earthquake-tsunami aftermath in Japan, we will be required to consider 'hazardous waste' and 'exposure thereof' in all it's conceivable incarnations including: radioactive, medical, biological, chemical, infectious, pathogenic and toxic in the long-term.
As Hurricane Andrew revealed the shoddy-construction methods and 'short-cuts' in many Florida dwellings, it may well be the same with a burgeoning number of allegations of 'short-cuts' taken in the construction of the crippled Japanese nuclear reactors.
Leave it to 'incidents' of 'Biblical proportions' to reveal the wantonness of humankind in the most inexplicable of ways, and horrendously, at times, when it comes to valuing life-human and otherwise.
We will undoubtedly be discussing the above at a future time, but let us return to our discussion of iodine at this time.
Some basic background:
Different forms of radioactive iodine present different levels of risk:
"Iodine-129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years; iodine-131 has a half-life of about 8 days." Read more here:
Direct studies of the effects of different types of radioactivity upon the human body are sporadically available in the form of short, mid and long-term studies.
Take this one, for example:
"During 1945 through 1962, many people in the United States were exposed to radiation fallout from iodine 131 (I-131) from multiple sources. Many of those exposed were children younger than 10 years of age, the population most vulnerable to radiation exposure. This exposure put those children at risk for thyroid and parathyroid disease and cancer of the thyroid. (Dated November 25, 2002)
Do not confuse the small amounts of I-131 used in radio-imaging medical studies with that which is encountered as a result of the breached Japan nuclear facilities.
Both the short-lived I-131 and long-lived I-129 enter the body as indicated below. As far as the body is concerned, it cannot determine whether iodine is radioactive or not or which isotope it is, for that matter.
Iodine just 'is' as far as the human body is concerned, except that radioactive forms damage tissue and produce cellular mutations known as 'cancer'.
"Radioactive iodine can enter the body by ingestion or inhalation. It dissolves in water so it moves easily from the atmosphere into humans and other living organisms. For example, I-129 and -131 can settle on grass where cows can eat it and pass it to humans through their milk. It may settle on leafy vegetables and be ingested by humans. Iodine isotopes also concentrate in marine and freshwater fish, which people may then eat."
With this background in mind, here are my recommendations regarding the need or lack thereof at this time to avail oneself of the potential benefits of ingesting potassium iodide tablets in order to avert thyroid and parathyroid damage after radioactive 'iodine' exposure.
These are the 'guidelines' I personally subscribe to for my family and friends and professionally as an alternative health care practitioner, as well as as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
I've a lifetime interest in all things radiological, from my early 'enchantment and time spent at' Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island in the 1960's to the witnessing of a colleague accidentally 'spill' a 'stock amount' of I-131 on his lead-brick-lined lab bench at a prestigious cancer research center.
I've worked with many beta emitters and some gamma-emitting radio-isotopes and equipment almost my entire life, proving that it is possible to do so safely with prudent and proper 'safeguards', even with an occasional 'unexpected' exposure.
And so my recommendations for you are these:
NO-You don't need potassium iodide tablets at this time if you are NOT in Japan.
NO-You don't need to 'STOCKPILE' potassium iodide right now wherever you live.
YES-You DO need to take potassium iodide if you live in Japan. This will have been given to you by your Emergency Preparedness Agencies, but if they have not been, the dosage guidelines are as follows:
•Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).
•Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.
•Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
•Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg (½ of a 65 mg tablet OR ½ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children.
•Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg (¼ of a 65 mg tablet or ¼ mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants.
These are the guidelines we use in the U.S., above. Here is the link for you:
Of course, as always, consult the advice of your personal health care provider for specific instructions for your individual case.
Please note that taking potassium iodide regularly or when not needed is completely unwise.
Also, taking MORE iodine than recommended does absolutely no good.
Either you were exposed, you took your potassium iodide and you avoided physiological damage and have moved away from any radioactive threat or you are not sure you were exposed and you took your potassium iodide and ALSO moved away from any radioactive threat.
Either way, radio-isotopes OTHER than I-131 and I-129 are going to be of concern in 'hot areas' and potassium iodide ONLY ADRESSES iodine variants.
If you are not in Japan, you are not at risk at this time and you do not need potassium iodide at the present time.
I am monitoring the situation and if this changes, I will let you know promptly.
I know I am always telling you that you must not depend on any government agency or personnel to 'save you' in the event of a disaster.
But in this case, most municipalities are well-supplied (OR SHOULD BE!) with enough potassium iodide for anyone under their jurisdiction who may need it.
And they should be able to 'acquire more' quickly and easily, for unlike something like 'flu vaccine', potassium iodide is cheap and readily available and is already adequately 'stockpiled' for you in many places.
And where it is not, is will be, pronto.
At the risk of sounding like an optimist and shedding my usual mantle of skepticism, I do believe that you need not be concerned about the nation's potassium iodide supply...which will only protect you 'so-far', in any case.
Okay? I hope this makes you feel better in some way.
Additionally, if I may appeal to our 'vanity', for one thing, one can induce a major case of acne and other skin problems by ingesting excess iodine.
Unnecessary 'iodine' consumption is also unwise in cases where iodine allergy and/or disclosed or undisclosed thyroid or parathyroid disease exist, so please use your 'common sense' with all of this.
If you are not in Japan, there is absolutely no need to panic, nor should those who are there.
This is the time to 'get to work' with intense monitoring studies and the construction of realistic 'evacuation plans' for the Japanese peoples, should a 'worst-case scenario' exist, which we pray will not be the case.
Please remember that while potassium iodide has some potential to protect the thyroid, it does absolutely nothing 'protective' for the rest of the body in the event of an actual nuclear exposure, aside from, perhaps a 'calming placebo effect' for those susceptible to such things.
And a special 'alternative medicine' note is due here: You know how some people suffer from some seafood allergies which are not always 'consistent'.
In my experience with these cases, the culprit may not be so much the seafood, itself, as it is the IODINE content of said seafood, in fact.
Now as a closing note here, I'd like to address future preparedness.
In that light, I recommend that if you wish to purchase your own stores of potassium iodide for future use, do so when the current 'rush' subsides.
Then do bear in mind that potassium iodide has a limited shelf-life and is good for little else outside of the laboratory and industrially.
You may also wish to concentrate on another useful suggestion if 'you'd like to prepare'.
You might want to 'lay in' some thick plastic sheeting, duct tape, water and food and all else necessary to 'shelter-in-place' in the event of some minor fall-out event, or else all the potassium iodide in the world won't do you a bit of good at all.
Take your time and shop for good values. At least sheeting, tape, food and water are things we can utilize if they get 'old on the shelf' and having them just may help you sleep better at night!
So, either you 'shelter-in-place' when evacuation is impossible and the nuclear hazard 'passes' or you 'shelter-in-place' until you CAN manage to evacuate-one never knows what the scenario will be in the end and we must react minute-by-minute to nuclear accidents and incidents.
In the worst case scenario, it will be impossible to both adequately 'shelter-in-place' and/or evacuate, in which case you should get ready to meet your Maker.
In summation: potassium iodide only protects two organs, essentially, the thyroid and parathyroid and it must be taken pronto after exposure with concurrent extraction from the 'hot zone' if this simple iodine salt is to be affective at all.
Please continue to pray with me for all those in Japan and let us all in the world help them as much as we possibly can.
Bookmark this site and check in here regularly for updated information and/or sign up for my FREE NEWSLETTER (see bottom of page)
God Bless & Keep You Safe
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
3-18-11 UPDATE: Though 'trace contamination' has been detected on international aircraft arriving in the U.S. from Japan, there is no threat to passengers from this. Air carriers who make regular flights within Japan, and the surrounding areas will have to have a higher state of 'vigilance' with monitoring their aircraft for 'residual radiation'.
At this point, simple 'exhaustive' wash-down with soap and water is the best method to reduce and eliminate the miniscule amounts of radioactivity we are talking about on aircraft here.
This wash-down is the same method being used on persons who show 'low levels of radioactive exposure', in fact, and is a method which safely removes and dilutes any radioactive particles so that they are of no concern to the community.
This method is used in labs 'routinely' for anything with minor contamination and there are special 'chelating agent soap-like products' which specificially 'bind and remove' the radioactive particles clinging to aircraft and even people. These 'chelating detergents' are very effective' and do a good job all around and have a good track record over many years environmentally and otherwise.
So as of today, Friday 3-18-11, my advice is that the traveling public need not be worried about whatever residual radioactivity is 'picked up' from the Japan Nuclear Disaster.
Check back here regularly for UPDATES should this change.
UPDATED Fri 3-18-11 By Rev. Barbara Sexton
UPDATED Thurs 4-7-11 By Rev. Barbara Sexton
With revised and updated traveling restrictions and perimeter restrictions in place, my advice remains pretty much the same regarding the administration of potassium iodide tablets.
YES to all visitors to and residents of Japan, as well as for all service members deployed in or near Japan, per their CO's orders.
NO to residents outside of Japan at this time.
The EPA and other agencies are monitoring radiation levels in air, food and water in the USA, Europe, Canada and elsewhere.
Thus far, no major red flags are raised, although some radiation levels are mildly elevated in some samples.
In my opinion, there is no cause for concern for those outside of Japan at this time.
Here are some LINKS for you:
WORLD: International Atomic Energy Commission: http://www.iaea.org/
EPA: USA: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/
Mainland US 'Grass Roots' Site: http://www.radiationnetwork.com/index.htm
Hawaii 'Grass Roots' Site: http://www.radiationnetwork.com/AlaskaHawaii.htm
God Bless & Keep You Safe. May we all continue to pray for the good peoples of Japan for their continued recovery amidst their pain and grief.
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"