KI4U, Inc. has been written up in ...
NYTimes (6/13/02), Wall Street Journal (3/14/03 & 10/5/01), USAToday (6/11/02 & 7/11/02), Washington Post (4/13/03 & 3/16/03), Boston Globe (8/13/05), SF Chronicle (6/23/02), Newsday (11/24/01), WND (1/18/05), IEEE Spectrum (9/01), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (5/04), National Defense Mag (3/04). And, our products seen on CNN, FOX, CBS, TIME mag with radio interviews on 'Coast to Coast', NPR, Glenn Beck and numerous others, also Glenn Beck's CNN TV Show - 10/12/2006 ~ KHOU TV Interview - 5/1/2012 ~ Shipping Wars - 8/28/2012 ~ KTBC TV Interview - 1/31/2013

New 'Surviving A Nuclear Disaster!' YouTube Interview - 12/20/2013

Last Updated: March 5th, 2014

KI4U Nuke Prep Expertise & Solutions!

If you do nothing else here, read our myth-busting expose...

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction!

...and then our popular & essential family guide for...

What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent!

...and our latest detailing protection from overseas fallout...

When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Like From Japan Fukushima Nuclear Crisis)

We've been promoting Nuclear Civil Defense Training of the public for well over a decade!
See where our proposal was voted & ranked #1 a year before Fukushima, here at...


FREE Radiation Contamination Testing For Your Home & Local Area!


"KI4U's practical family nuclear disaster guides and essential resources address a critical void in our nations nuclear preparedness. For over a dozen years they've been the model of what I'd of liked to of seen DHS and FEMA doing all along in a very big way nationwide."

Allen Brodsky, Sc.D., CHP, CIH, Diplomate, American Board of Radiology, Adjunct Professor of Radiation Science, Georgetown University

Former:
- Senior Scientist at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), McLean, VA.
- Senior Health Physicist at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Washington, DC
- Tech Director Radiation Medicine Unit, PBU Hospital, managed plutonium contaminated patients
- Radiation Hazards Physicist at U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Washington, D.C.
- Physicist, Radef Officer at Federal Civil Defense Administration, training responders in fallout
- Physicist, 2nd H Bomb Test at Bikini Atoll measuring prompt neutron spectra & dose vs. distance
- Physicist, 1st H Bomb Test at Enewetak Atoll measuring prompt gamma radiation signals
- Head, Health Physics Unit at Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C




*** KI4U PRESS RELEASE ***

1/4/2014

KI4U, Inc.
212 Oil Patch Lane
Gonzales, TX 78629
(830) 672-8734
webmaster@ki4u.com

History, Expertise & Products...

KI4U, Inc. is much more than just a licensed Radiation Calibration Laboratory...

We've been promoting Nuclear Civil Defense Training of the public for well over a decade. See where our proposal was voted & ranked #1 at DHS & FEMA National Dialogue on Preparedness a year before Fukushima!

Two months after the above Local, State, Tribal, and Federal Preparedness Task Force produced a report of findings and recommendations for Congress, we saw in the NYTimes U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable and from USAToday L.A. dry run shows urban nuke attack 'a survivable event'. We'd like to think we helped spur along that reassessment of the utility of Civil Defense training of the public for nuclear disasters. Hopefully, the govt will now follow up with a comprehensive program to actually instruct the public in the specifics of how to better survive a future nuclear event. In the meantime, we'll still have our FREE guides available; The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! and What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent!

We've also been offering Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets, the thyroid-protecting anti-radiation pills since 1999, long before most saw any need for it. We've supplied the Federal Government, military, and many state and municipal governments, as well as to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. (Including 300,000 doses of Potassium Iodide pills ordered shortly after 9/11 by the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and picked up by Lear Jet the same day.) Also, tens of thousands of individuals and families have bought KI direct from us via the internet here.

We've invested heavily to secure the largest private emergency inventory of Potassium Iodide (KI) in the USA, and delivered over 6 million doses worldwide since the Fukushima tragedy, but still know this won't be anywhere near enough in a future major nuclear emergency. Nor, is enough of it likely to be exactly where it's needed when the time comes, either, until the day every family already has their own supply. We are the exclusive national distributor of ThyroSafe™, the only FDA approved split-dosage, essential to prompt and accurate dosing of children. Our popular informational FAQ site details it all at 'Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ' which begins further down this same page.

We also show the public and govt agencies 'emergency alternatives' for the inadequate supply of available Potassium Iodide tablets if/when anything nuclear gets unleashed here in the USA. For large groups, especially those on tight budgets, these are viable alternatives even now. We are not concerned that some won't then buy our Potassium Iodide pills because there, unfortunately, won't be enough available anyways, when really needed quickly. That emergency Plan "B" if no KI pills available is here...
www.KI4U.com/Plan_B.htm

Additionally, eight months prior to 9/11/01, we acquired from FEMA over 100,000 Civil Defense radiation detecting survey meters, dosimeters, monitors and geiger counters from the Federal Depot in Fort Worth, TX. That required 12 tractor trailers to ship the 416 pallet loads down to our warehouse/lab in Gonzales, TX.

Our inventory here represents the largest non-government source of these Civil Defense radiation detector instruments and we are the only private rad lab in the country that specializes in re-calibrating these CD survey meters, geiger counters, dosimeters and monitors.

We are licensed and authorized to re-calibrate and re-certify these radiation detection instruments with our three high-range Cesium-137 calibrators here and our lab staff of 6 trained & certified radiological employees. We utilize the unique Dept. of Army - Office of Civil Defense calibrators that were specifically made for calibrating all these Civil Defense survey meters and dosimeters. We are licensed to do so in conformance to the standards as set forth by the State of Texas Bureau of Radiation Control, FEMA, ASTM and the NRC, all of which we adhere to.

These same, field-proven for decades, FEMA Civil Defense radiation meters and dosimeters are still in-use by thousands of First-Responders across the country! We daily have state agencies and municipalities shipping us their Civil Defense instruments to be re-calibrated, as well as from the general public. We detail our calibration services here...
www.RadMeters4U.com/calibrate.htm

We also make them available, along with FEMA manuals, to government agencies and the general public here.
More info at our FAQ entitled: 'Civil Defense Rad Meters, Geiger Counters and Dosimeters FAQ' at...
www.RadMeters4U.com

In 2002, we introduced an additional FAQ focusing on the effects of nuclear blasts and fallout and the protective strategies families can effectively employ. Free detailed info for DIY building of fallout shelters and the on-line FREE version of the Oak Ridge National Labs book; 'Nuclear War Survival Skills' can be found there. Also, sources for 'ready built' commercial versions, including our own inexpensive design fabricated here, can all be seen at the 'Nuclear Blast & Fallout Shelters FAQ' here...
www.RadShelters4U.com

The fallout shelters are not our fastest sellers... yet. We often feel here like Noah building mini-arks, and until the fallout begins to rain down, most folks won't take the need for one seriously. Of course, most didn't take terrorism & KI seriously either, before 9/11.

But, that's OK, too, IF you learn now how readily you can make a corner of your home into a truly effective family fallout shelter. You'll be pleasantly surprised discovering in our FREE guide; WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT! how little time, money, and energy it really requires to make that essential difference for your family survival. Abandon any myths of nuclear un-survivability and prepare your family now to endure confidently, when you discover the facts there and at THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!.

In 2002, we also released a FAQ on MRE's (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) and had, until FEMA bought most of it out for Katrina, over 180,000+ Entree's of this long-storage food in inventory. This is the same as what our military are eating in the M.E. right now. The MRE FAQ, along with the remaining menu selections and pricing for them here...
www.KI4U.com/mre.htm

In January of 2003, we introduced at the National Health Physics Society Annual Convention our breakthrough NukAlert™. This is a patented, matchbox sized, key-chain attachable, personal radiation monitoring and alarming device. With its ten year battery it is always "ON" 24/7 continuously monitoring the local environment of the user. Details of the popular NukAlert™, acquired by our military and govt agencies, including it's passing EMP testing by the Naval Air Warfare Center, can be seen here...
www.NukAlert.com

More recently, after eight months of R&D with military contractor, we were proud to have introduced in July of 2010 the RADSticker™ peel & stick, postage stamp sized, instant color developing dosimeter. This inexpensive dosimeter will both dampen public panic and safely enable First-Responders into where most needed in a future radiation emergency. See the RADSticker™ here.

Our primary mission, though, has always been one of education and dispelling the myths of nuclear and radiation un-survivability that hold back the majority from seriously embracing life-saving family preparations. See/read; THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION! If/when the country is ever in a panic again, like during the 'Cuban Missile Crisis', everyone will also need our FREE guide; WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT! And, our latest guide detailing protection from overseas fallout; When An ill Wind Blows From Afar!

We've been promoting Nuclear Civil Defense Training of the public for well over a decade. See where our proposal was voted & ranked #1 at DHS & FEMA National Dialogue on Preparedness a year before Fukushima!

For much of the above, we are the sole public source. And, we are continually evaluating new protective solutions which can all be found and seen on our products page at www.KI4U.com/products1.php And, links to our popular and acclaimed, very detailed, informational FAQ's. And, for two of the books we sell; 'Nuclear War Survival Skills' and the FEMA 'Radiation Safety in Shelters' they are also both available to just read or print out for free there, too! Also, all our product pricing is very competitive as we strive to assure that more fellow Americans might then be able to afford these essential family preps. Our modest profit attitude here is that it's a tool to build ever larger emergency inventories now for the coming need, to then be able serve more on that day 'none will ever forget'.

We look at all of this like you would medical or fire insurance, where you never acquire it eagerly looking forward to getting to use it anytime soon, but will be very glad to have it, if it is ever needed! We tell all our product customers that we hope/pray these nuke preps all get a chance to gather much dust upon their shelves un-used for many years! I've got a family and kids, too, and truly wish none of these preps was needed. I'd eagerly, and quite joyfully, go about finding something else to do, if that was the case. Unfortunately, it is not.

Feel free to call or e-mail me, if any questions or comments.

Best Regards,
Shane Connor
(830) 672-8734
webmaster@ki4u.com

"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
- Proverbs 22:3




Nukalert™ 24/7 Key-Chain Rad Monitor

Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ

Nuclear Blast & Radiation Fallout Shelters FAQ

MRE's FAQ - Military-Style Meals Ready to Eat & Sources

Nuclear Emergency Disaster Preparedness Management FAQ

Chemical & Biological Attack, Detection & Response FAQ & Sources

FEMA Civil Defense Rad Meters, Geiger Counters and Dosimeters FAQ

Story & Photos of KI4U, Inc. New Orleans Katrina Emergency Delivery!

Venezuela's Chavez 'Clear and Present Danger' revealed here years ago!


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Visitor Map


ORDER KI & RAD METERS HERE!

Potassium Iodide

Aluminum case

Aerial 3-in-1 fallout meter


Click Here To See More Details Of, Or to Order, Any of the Above!

Shane Connor

BTW, We are no 'Johnny-Come-Lately' sounding the call to prepare!
In fact, we've been well ahead of the curve for quite awhile now!

Our 'Got KI' billboard by the Austin airport
(Our 'Got KI?' billboard next to Austin airport in 2001 for six months.)

Check out our pre 9/11 Press Releases in 1999 and 2000, too!
Few others warned of nuclear terrorism or 'suitcase nukes' back then!

So, you might want to see what we've been saying lately about it all...

'Nuclear Prep' Radio Interview - Sept 10, 2009

THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!

WHAT TO DO IF A NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMINENT!

When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! Overseas Fallout Coming Here!

October 12th, 2006 Interview on Glenn Beck's CNN HeadLine News Show!

And...Just Now Released... KI4U's Review of 'Countdown To Zero' movie!



CLICK HERE to go see NukAlert Key-Chain 24/7 Radiation Monitor and Alarm Potassium iodide anti-radiation protection pills, tablets. FAQ lists all iodine sources. SPECIALS - FAST SHIPPING, YES, It is all in-stock!


Potassium Iodide
Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ   & iodine tablets, pills, sources

Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ *** Quick Summary of this KI FAQ ***
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ What Is Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Does Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Provide Anti-Radiation Protection?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is This The Magic Anti-Radiation Protection Pill?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Radioactive Iodine: Bad News / Good News!?!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Dosage and Safety Regarding Potassium Iodide (KI) Usage?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is Iodized Salt, Tincture of Iodine, Water Purification Tabs, or other Iodine Sources Effective?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is the Government Ready with Emergency Stocks of Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Will Potassium Iodide (KI) Flush Radioactive Iodine Out of the Thyroid Gland?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ What About Potassium Iodate (KIO3)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Do You Make a Potassium Iodide (KI) Solution?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Long Term Stability of Stocked Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Much Personally Stocked Potassium Iodide (KI) is Enough?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ When Should I Take Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ For How Long Should I Take Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Candid Product Evaluations by FAQ Author
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Locations and Daily Status of Nuclear Reactors in US?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ WHO IS KI4U, INC. & WHAT'S THEIR HISTORY?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Disclaimer (What KI4U.com does not do!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ More Nuclear, Potassium Iodide (KI), KIO3, I-131 & Thyroid Cancer links...

ADDITIONAL RELATED RESOURCES HOSTED ON-LINE HERE AT KI4U.com
OR ON OUR SISTER SITES; RadMeters4U.COM, RadShelters4U.com and NukAlert.com...

Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ NEW NukAlert™ 24/7 Key-Chain Radiation Monitor and Alarm
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Civil Defense Radiation Detection Survey Meters, Geiger Counters & Dosimeters FAQ!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Nuclear Blast & Fallout Shelters FAQ with free plans, books & ready made shelter sources!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ MRE's FAQ - Military-Style Meals Ready to Eat & Sources
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Do Terrorists Really Have Nukes Here?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ 'Nuclear War Survival Skills' (280 pg book) FREE On-Line Here!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Nuclear War Unthinkable? (Russian & Chinese & North Korea Update!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ FEMA Nuclear Weapon Target Maps and Surival Info for each State!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Trans-Pacific Fallout (Don't be caught off-guard by these ill winds!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ 'You Will Survive Doomsday' (A myth-busting eye-opener!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ '11 Steps to Nuclear War Survival' (Canada Emergency Measures Organization)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Sabotage and Terrorism of Nuclear Power Plants
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Lost and Stolen Nuclear Materials in the United States
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ What's The NRC's "Fighter Jet Rule" on KI? (by 23 year NRC veteran!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ WHO: Guidelines For Iodine Prophylaxis Following Nuclear Accidents
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Three Mile Island: The Rest of the Story... (Govt. scramble to get KI to TMI!)
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Chemical & Biological Attack, Detection & Response FAQ
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ KFM - Kearny Fallout Meter - Radiation Meter - Free Plans - Kit

Last Updated: March 5th, 2014
SOURCES: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, New England Journal of Medicine, Nuclear War Survival Skills, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Federal Register, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Salt Institute, Morton® Salt, Solgar®, American Thyroid Association, Physicians for Civil Defense, The United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc., USP Drug Research and Testing Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Health Physics Journal, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, World Health Organization, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, United States Disaster Preparedness Institute (Forward additional relevant resources or suggestions for this FAQ to:webmaster@ki4u.com)

Potassium iodide (iodine) anti radiation protection 
pills, tablets, medicine. FAQ with iodine sources.

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Quick Summary of FAQ.

A: Documentation and details of the following (and much more) are below in the FAQ:

  • Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine) is a major radioisotope constituent of both nuclear power plant accidents and nuclear bomb explosions and can travel hundreds of miles on the winds. Thyroid cancer attributable to Chernobyl "...has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site." The maximum measured radioactive contamination of milk in the United States by radioiodine from the Chernobyl disaster was in milk produced by cows grazing on pasture in Washington: 560 picocuries per liter. Customary levels are normally 2-3 picocuries per liter.

  • Even very small amounts of inhaled or ingested radioiodine can do grave damage as it will always concentrate, and be retained, in the small space of the thyroid gland. Eventually giving such a large radiation dose to thyroid cells there that abnormalities are likely to result, such as loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer. (Each year 12,000 Americans discover they have thyroid cancer, though from various assorted causes, and about 1000 die from it.)

  • Chernobyl has shown, and continues to reveal, that the greatest danger from radioiodine is to the tiny thyroid glands of children. Researchers have found that in certain parts of Belarus, for example, 36.4 per cent of children, who were under the age of four at the time of the accident, can expect to develop thyroid cancer.

  • Health experts now estimate that the greatest health concerns affecting the largest number of people from a nuclear accident, or nuclear bomb explosion(s) anywhere in the world, will likely be from the release of radioiodine that is then carried downwind for hundreds of miles. While there will also be many other dangerous radioisotopes released along with radioiodine, if they are inhaled or ingested they are normally dispersed throughout a body and pose less of a risk than if they were to be concentrated into one small specific area of the body, like radioiodine is in the thyroid gland. So, as a plume or cloud of radioactive isotopes disperses with the wind its danger also diminshes, but much less quickly so for radioiodine because whatever little there is left, that's inhaled or ingested, will always then be concentrated into that small space of the thyroid gland.

  • From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported that:

      Chernobyl also demonstrated that the need to protect the thyroid from radiation was greater than expected. Within ten years of the accident, it became clear that thyroid damage caused by released radioactive iodine was virtually the only adverse health effect that could be measured. As reported by the NRC, studies after the accident showed, that "As of 1996, except for thyroid cancer, there has been no confirmed increase in the rates of other cancers, including leukemia, among the...public, that have been attributed to releases from the accident."

      Researchers at the World Health Organization accurately located and counted the cancer victims from Chernobyl and were startled to find that "the increase in incidence [of thyroid cancer] has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site...significant doses from radioactive iodine can occur hundreds of kilometers from the site, beyond emergency planning zones." Consequently, far more people than anticipated were affected by the radiation, which caused the United Nations to report in 2002 that "The number of people with thyroid cancer...has exceeded expectations. Over 11,000 cases have already been reported."

  • The good news is that taking either Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) before exposure will saturate (fill up) a persons thyroid gland with safe stable iodine to where there is no room for later uptake of radioactive iodine. Once the thyroid is saturated, then any additional iodine (radioactive or stable) that is later inhaled or ingested is quickly eliminated via the kidneys.

  • From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported about KI use during Chernobyl event that:

      Poland, 300 miles from Chernobyl, also gave out KI to protect its population. Approximately 18 million doses were distributed, with follow-up studies showing no known thyroid cancer among KI recipients. But time has shown that people living in irradiated areas where KI was not available have developed thyroid cancer at epidemic levels, which is why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported "The data clearly demonstrate the risks of thyroid radiation...KI can be used [to] provide safe and effective protection against thyroid cancer caused by irradiation."

  • The bad news is that after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl all available KI and KIO3 supplies disappeared for months, almost overnight! The KI and KIO3 market is very thin and current limited inventory will be quickly depleted in any nuclear emergency occuring anywhere in the world. (At www.ki4u.com we expect to be largely 'out of business' within days of any nuclear emergency simply because we'll be totally sold-out with no illusions of getting re-supplied again any time soon!)

  • Potassium Iodide (KI) and/or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) has already been stockpiled by most developed countries for future nuclear emergencies, they figured it out after Chernobyl, but here in the USA they've only just begun. (We sold 300,000 doses to HHS Office of Emergency Prepardness after 9/11, which represented half of our nations stockpile then.) However, very limited quantities will be available for individual purchase in the USA by the public after an 'event'. (Potassium Iodide (KI) has long been recognized and approved by the FDA for sale for this purpose without a prescription. Unfortunately, it is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that's to be found on too few counters here in the USA!)

  • KI is currently available on the internet here.

  • P.S.- KI or KIO3 would likely not be needed for the so-called 'Dirty Bomb' or RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device). Radioactive Iodine is only produced in quantity by a fission or fusion weapon detonation or in a Nuclear Power Plant as a byproduct of that process. There is some small medical radioactive iodine, but it's impractical as a bomb component with its short half-life. An RDD simply spreads around existing radioactive material and it's not very likely to have been composed of the relatively short half-life radioactive iodine. We'd more likely see used in an RDD a commercially abundant, and more easily obtained, isotope like Cobalt-60, Cesium-137 or uranium fuel rods, etc.

  • See and read our latest report, detailing thyroid protection with KI from overseas fallout, here...
    When An ill Wind Blows From Afar!

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?

A: Potassium Iodide (chemical name 'KI') is much more familiar to most than they might first expect. It is the ingredient added to your table salt to make it iodized salt.

Potassium Iodide (KI) is approximately 76.5% iodine.

For purposes of radiation protection the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) states in COMSECY-98-016 - FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

    "In 1978, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found KI "safe and effective" for use in radiological emergencies and approved its over-the-counter sale."

Most recently (November, 2001) the FDA states in Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies:

    "FDA maintains that KI is a safe and effective means by which to prevent radioiodine uptake by the thyroid gland, under certain specified conditions of use, and thereby obviate the risk of thyroid cancer in the event of a radiation emergency."

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: How Does Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Provide Anti-Radiation Protection?

A: Going back to June 23, 1966, the New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 274 on Page 1442 states:

    "The thyroid gland is especially vulnerable to atomic injury since radioactive isotopes of iodine are a major component of fallout."

Cresson H. Kearny, the author of Nuclear War Survival Skills, Original Edition Published September, 1979, by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition) states on page 111:

    "There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike.

    However, a salt of the elements potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result. The thyroid gland readily absorbs both non-radioactive and radioactive iodine, and normally it retains much of this element in either or both forms.

    When ordinary, non-radioactive iodine is made available in the blood for absorption by the thyroid gland before any radioactive iodine is made available, the gland will absorb and retain so much that it becomes saturated with non-radioactive iodine. When saturated, the thyroid can absorb only about l% as much additional iodine, including radioactive forms that later may become available in the blood: then it is said to be blocked. (Excess iodine in the blood is rapidly eliminated by the action of the kidneys.)"

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated July 1, 1998 in USE OF POTASSIUM IODIDE IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE:

    "Potassium iodide, if taken in time, blocks the thyroid gland's uptake of radioactive iodine and thus could help prevent thyroid cancers and other diseases that might otherwise be caused by exposure to airborne radioactive iodine that could be dispersed in a nuclear accident."

Federal Register. Vol. 43 Friday, December 15, 1978, states in Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in a Radiation Emergency:

    "Almost complete (greater than 90%) blocking of peak radioactive iodine uptake by the thyroid gland can be obtained by the oral administration of ... iodide ..."

National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. NCRP Report NO. 55. Protection of the Thyroid Gland in the Event of Releases of Radioiodine. August, 1979, Page 32:

    "A major protective action to be considered after a serious accident at a nuclear power facility involving the release of radioiodine is the use of stable iodide as a thyroid blocking agent to prevent thyroid uptake of radioiodines."

The recently updated (1999) World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states:

    "Stable iodine administered before, or promptly after, intake of radioactive iodine can block or reduce the accumulation of radioactive iodine in the thyroid."

And, finally, the recently (November, 2001) released FDA document Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

    "The effectiveness of KI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established (Il'in LA, et al., 1972) as are the doses necessary for blocking uptake. As such, it is reasonable to conclude that KI will likewise be effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines."

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Is this the Magic Anti-Radiation Protection Pill?

A: Sorry, but there is no magic pill or medicine that will protect you from all radiation sources. In fact, as already stated above here:

    "There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike."

Also, the recently (November, 2001) released FDA document Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

    "KI provides protection only for the thyroid from radioiodines. It has no impact on the uptake by the body of other radioactive materials and provides no protection against external irradiation of any kind. FDA emphasizes that the use of KI should be as an adjunct to evacuation (itself not always feasible), sheltering, and control of foodstuffs."

Potassium Iodide (and Potassium Iodate, KIO3) will provide a very high level of thyroid protection, taken in time, for the specific radio-isotopes of iodine, which is expected by many to cause the majority of health concerns downwind from a nuclear emergency. (And, is the reason most all developed countries have stockpiled it.)

However, there are numerous other, and very dangerous, radioactive noble gases and/or radioactive fallouts that can be associated with nuclear emergencies. You are still exposed to inhale, ingest, or be radiated externally from any number of dangerous non-radioiodine sources.

If you are ever directed to evacuate in a nuclear emergency, do so immediately, regardless of whether you have taken Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3, or not.

Note: KI or KIO3 would likely not be needed for the so-called "Dirty Bomb" or RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device). Radioactive Iodine is only produced by a fission or fusion weapon detonation or in a Nuclear Power Plant as a byproduct of that process. An RDD simply spreads around existing radioactive material and it's not very likely to have been composed of the relatively short half-life radioactive iodine. We'd more likely see used in an RDD a commercially abundant, and more easily obtained, isotope like Cobalt-60, Cesium-137 or uranium fuel rods, etc.

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Radioactive Iodine: Bad News / Good News!?!

A: The "bad news" first:

#1 - Radioactive iodine (predominantly iodine-131) is a major radioisotope constituent in nuclear power plants.

#2 - There are 103 currently active commercial nuclear reactors and 39 operating nonpower reactors in the United States. (434 worldwide as of 1998.) Additionlly, there are numerous other nuclear processing and storage facilities worldwide with the potential for accidents, too.

The, September 29, 1999, Tokaimura, Japan nuclear accident took place, not in a nuclear reactor power plant, but in an uranium processing plant.

Tokaimura Japan Radioactive iodine-131 gases were confirmed to have been released and was the primary reason for 320,000 Japanese confined to their homes with their windows shut. It was also why you may have seen photos of Japanese authorities examining scores of children with geiger counters pressed against their necks.

#3 - Radioactive iodine (predominantly iodine-131) is also a major constituent of detonated nuclear weapons.

#4 - Radioactive iodine can not only travel hundreds of miles on the winds, but also still remain health threatening even as other radioisotopes are becoming dispersed and diluted along with it and their likelyhood of causing harm diminishes. It is often overlooked that while there will also be many other dangerous radioisotopes released along with radioiodine, if they are inhaled or ingested they are normally dispersed throughout a body and pose less of a risk than if they were to be concentrated into one small specific area of the body, like radioiodine is in the thyroid gland. As a plume or cloud of radioactive isotopes disperses with the wind its danger also diminshes, but always much less quickly so for radioiodine because whatever little there is that's inhaled will always be concentrated into that small space of the thyroid gland.

NUREG-1633 points out an increase in thyroid cancer caused by radioiodine from Chernobyl...

"...was detected in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Notably, this increase, seen in areas more than 150 miles (300 km) from the site, continues to this day and primarily affects children who were 0-14 years old at the time of the accident...the vast majority of the thyroid cancers were diagnosed among those living more than 50 km (31 miles) from the site." chernobyl wind drift,Potassium Iodide Radiation Protection FAQ & iodine pills sources.

The recently updated (1999) World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states in its abstract regarding thyroid cancer caused by the Chernobyl disaster:

"This increase in incidence has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site."

...and therefore...

"...that stockpiling (KI or KIO3) is warranted, when feasible, over much wider areas than normally encompassed by emergency planning zones, and that the opportunity for voluntary purchase be part of national plans."

Many are coming to see now that relying on the current U.S. policy of public safety contingency plans focused on only protecting the populations inside a small "Emergency Planning Zone" (EPZ) of 5 to 10 miles around U.S. nuclear power plants is "overly optimistic", to put it very mildly.

Undoubtably, US nuclear power plants are much better designed, operated, and safer than many others elsewhere in the world, and certainly many magnitudes safer than the Chernobyl operation ever was. But, that doesn't mean much anymore when we aren't just concerned with just accidents, but now sabotage or terrorist attacks, too.

Without anyone debating here how likely anything is to ever go wrong, it must still be accepted by all that the logic of even having any EPZ's established is to effectively provide for the public safety in that rarest of events if/when anything did go wrong. If that's why we've even bothered with having any EPZ's at all, then shouldn't they be effective ones, if/when it's ever really needed to protect the public downwind? Reality is, the wind just won't know to stop blowing when it comes up against the currently tiny 5-10-50 mile EPZ 'barriers'. (Find your upwind nuclear power plants and daily updated plant status reports here.)

Also, read the fascinating Three Mile Island: The Rest of the Story... (Why current EPZ's are much too small.)

The wind, of course, doesn't respect state boundaries either as our own Nevada atomic bomb testing program in the 1950s and early 1960s made it possible that "...everyone living in the contiguous 48 states was exposed to low levels of 131Iodine (radioiodine) for several months following each nuclear bomb test." (Radiation Exposure and Thyroid Cancer - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) Even more importantly; "The report also estimates that children aged three to five years probably received doses of radiation three to seven times higher than average during the 90 nuclear tests that were carried out."

Remember, it's always the children who are at the highest risk of injury from radioactive iodine and eventually developing thyroid cancer from that exposure. Each year, more than 12,000 Americans find out they have thyroid cancer, though from various causes. About 1000 here in the U.S. die from it yearly.

Are you pointing to where your family lives?

National Cancer Institute Study Estimating Thyroid Doses of I-131
Received by Americans From Nevada Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb Tests

The NCI's 'worst case' estimate is that fallout from nuclear weapons
testing likely generated from 10,000 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer!

Executive Summary of that report here.
Additional details and fallout maps here.
Physicians for Social Responsibility: Critique of NCI Report

And, of course, the wind also doesn't respect international boundaries either, nor even continents and oceans, as fallout from a single above ground Chinese nuclear test explosion ("a few hundred kilotons") on December 28, 1966 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States.

From Cresson H. Kearny's Nuclear War Survival Skills:

"It produced fallout that by January 1, 1967 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States. This one Chinese explosion produced about 15 million curies of iodine- 131 - roughly the same amount as the total release of iodine- 131 into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster."

"Fallout from the approximately 300 kiloton Chinese test explosion shown in Fig. 1 caused milk from cows that fed on pastures near Oak Ridge, Tennessee and elsewhere to be contaminated with radioiodine, although not with enough to be hazardous to health. However, this milk contamination (up to 900 picocuries of radioactive iodine per liter) and the measured dose rates from the gamma rays emitted from fallout particles deposited in different parts of the United States indicate that trans-Pacific fallout from even an overseas nuclear war in which "only" two or three hundred megatons would be exploded could result in tens of thousands of unprepared Americans suffering thyroid injury." (Declassified Fallout Map and full story text in Nuclear War Survival Skills at Trans-Pacific Fallout)

Getting Back To The Future...

Commenting on the world health effects a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would create, for example, Dr. Henry Kendall of the Union of Concerned Scientists said in October of 1999: "It would be very similar to Cherynobl. But it could be on a substantially larger scale."

Accordingly, you also have to assess the probable threat from nuclear war, either directed at the U.S. or fallout contamination originating from elsewhere in the world. Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Iran, Israel, etc., where any of them are exchanging nuclear blasts with any of their neighbors, could have the prevailing west-to-east trade winds carrying the resultant radioactive fallout to our shores, too.

You'll have to decide whether that's an impossible scenario in your families lifetime, or not. And, then prepare accordingly.

#5 - Radioactive iodine (radioiodine) persists in the environment for a month or more.

#6 - Most importantly, ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine (radioiodine) persists in the body and concentrates in the thyroid. (Excess iodine in the blood, either radioiodine or stable iodine, is quickly eliminated from the body, but only after the thyroid has become saturated with one or the other type of iodine.) Even very small amounts of radioactive iodine, because it is retained in the small space of the thyroid, eventually will give such a large radiation dose to thyroid cells there that abnormalities are likely to result. These would include loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer. The most likely to see the worst effects, in later life, are the youngest children. (Many of the Chernobyl thyroid cancers appearing in the former Soviet Union among young people today were just children less than five years old at the time of the accident. Experts now contend that as high as 40% of the nodules are cancerous with 5 to 10 percent of the cancers fatal.)

Every year researchers are discovering more from Chernobyl as its legacy continues to reveal itself. According to the World Health Organization, that disaster will cause 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer among young people living in the areas most affected by the nuclear disaster. Researchers have also found that in certain parts of Belarus, for example, 36.4 per cent of children, who were under the age of four at the time of the accident, can expect to develop thyroid cancer.

For all of the above reasons, health experts estimate that the greatest health concerns affecting the largest number of people from a nuclear accident, or nuclear bomb explosion(s) anywhere in the world, will likely be from the release of radioactive iodine then carried downwind.

However, there really is some Good News amongst all this!

This deadly cancer agent, especially to our children, is easily, cheaply, and effectively blocked!

As mentioned above;

"...a salt of the elements potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result."

Potassium Iodide Radiation Protection FAQ & iodine pills sources.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) states in COMSECY-98-016 - FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

    The Chernobyl accident demonstrated that thyroid cancer can indeed be a major result of a large reactor accident. Moreover, although the Food and Drug Administration declared KI "safe and effective" as long ago as 1978, the drug had never been deployed on a large scale until Chernobyl. The experience of Polish health authorities during the accident has provided confirmation that large scale deployment of KI is safe.
Additionally, it goes on to say:
    The revised policy also reflects wide scale change in international practice following the Chernobyl disaster, specifically 1989 World Health Organization recommendations (updated in 1995) and 1996 and 1997 International Atomic Energy Agency standards and guidance, which have led to use of KI as a supplementary protective measure in much of Europe, as well as in Canada and Japan.

Also, the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

    "Thus, the studies following the Chernobyl accident support the etiologic role of relatively small doses of radioiodine in the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer among exposed children. Furthermore, it appears that the increased risk occurs with a relatively short latency. Finally, the Polish experience supports the use of KI as a safe and effective means by which to protect against thyroid cancer caused by internal thyroid irradiation from inhalation of contaminated air or ingestion of contaminated food and drink when exposure cannot be prevented by evacuation, sheltering, or food and milk control."

What they learned was that children, with their thyroid glands being the most sensitive to radioactive iodine uptake, have today grown up to be the most frequent victims of thyroid cancers there. The children in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, where potassium iodide (KI) was not widely distributed, are now experiencing high levels of thyroid cancer. However, in Poland, where over 18 million doses of Potassium Iodide (KI) were administered, and to 97 percent of the children, there has been no similar increase in thyroid cancer. Also, key to Poland's radioiodine protective strategy, was their aggressive interdiction of radioiodine contaminated food stuffs and milk.

Bottom Line: For all its serious potential for widespread damage to populations (and especially among our youngest), far downwind from the site of a nuclear event, radioiodine health concerns can be largely neutralized by inexpensive thyroid blocking via prompt prophylactic use of potassium iodide (KI). This, in addition to successful evacuation, when indicated, and vigilance that food and milk are not also radioiodine contaminated, has proven itself the best combination strategy.

 

Potassium iodide (iodine) anti radiation protection 
pills, tablets, medicine. FAQ with iodine sources.

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Dosage and Safety Regarding Potassium Iodide (KI) Usage?

A: In April of 1982 the Bureau of Radiological Health and Bureau of Drugs, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services released "FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS, Potassium Iodide As A Thyroid-Blocking Agent In A Radiation Emergency: Recommendations On Use". These lengthy recommendations are summarized in the FDA's "mandated patient product insert". (See a complete copy below.) This insert is packed with every bottle of non-prescription Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets sold. However, the lengthy FDA recommendations contain many facts not mentioned in this required insert, including the following:

    "Based on the FDA adverse reaction reports and an estimated 48 x 106 [48 million] 300-mg doses of potassium iodide administered each year [in the United States], the NCRP [National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements] estimated an adverse reaction rate of from 1 in a million to 1 in 10 million doses."

(It should be pointed out that this extremely low adverse reaction rate is for doses over twice as large as the 130-mg prophylactic dose.)

NOTE: The following 'old' FDA Recommendations were recently revised, but we share them here for any that wish to compare them with the current recommendations. See details and link to the newer (November, 2001) FDA guidelines immediately below this grey box.


FDA PATIENT INFORMATION USE OF 130-MG SCORED TABLETS OF POTASSIUM IODIDE FOR THYROID BLOCKING

(Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.)

(Pronounced poe-TASS-e-um EYE-oh-dyed)

(Abbreviated KI)

TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE ONLY WHEN PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TELL YOU. IN A RADIATION EMERGENCY, RADIOACTIVE IODINE COULD BE RELEASED INTO THE AIR. POTASSIUM IODIDE (A FORM OF IODINE) CAN HELP PROTECT YOU.

IF YOU ARE TOLD TO TAKE THIS MEDICINE, TAKE IT ONE TIME EVERY 24 HOURS. DO NOT TAKE IT MORE OFTEN. MORE WILL NOT HELP YOU AND MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF SIDE EFFECTS. DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IODINE (SEE SIDE EFFECTS BELOW).

INDICATIONS

THYROID BLOCKING IN A RADIATION EMERGENCY ONLY

DIRECTIONS FOR USE

Use only as directed by State or local public health authorities in the event of a radiation emergency.

DOSE

ADULTS AND CHILDREN ONE YEAR OF AGE OR

OLDER: One (1) tablet once a day. Crush for small children.

BABIES UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE: One-half (1/2) tablet once a day. Crush first.

DOSAGE: Take for 10 days unless directed otherwise by State or local public health authorities.

Store at controlled room temperature between 15 and 30C (59 degrees to 86 degrees F). Keep bottle tightly closed and protect from light.

WARNING

POTASSIUM IODIDE SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PEOPLE ALLERGIC TO IODIDE. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of overdose or allergic reaction, contact a physician or public health authority.

DESCRIPTION

Each (company trade name) Tablet contains 130 mg. of potassium iodide.

HOW POTASSIUM IODIDE WORKS

Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid gland work right. Most people get the iodine they need from foods like iodized salt or fish. The thyroid can "store" or hold only a certain amount of iodine.

In a radiation emergency, radioactive iodine may be released in the air. This material may be breathed or swallowed. It may enter the thyroid gland and damage it. The damage would probably not show itself for years. Children are most likely to have thyroid damage.

If you take potassium iodide, it will fill up your thyroid gland. This reduces the chance that harmful radioactive iodine will enter the thyroid gland.

WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE

The only people who should not take potassium iodide are people who know they are allergic to iodide. You may take potassium iodide even if you are taking medicines for a thyroid problem (for example, a thyroid hormone or anti-thyroid drug). Pregnant and nursing women and babies and children may also take this drug.

HOW AND WHEN TO TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE

Potassium iodide should be taken as soon as possible after public health officials tell you. You should take one dose every 24 hours. More will not help you because the thyroid can "hold" only limited amounts of iodine. Larger doses will increase the risk of side effects. You will probably be told not to take the drug for more than 10 days.

SIDE EFFECTS

Usually, side effects of potassium iodide happen when people take higher doses for a long time. You should be careful not to take more than the recommended dose or take it for longer than you are told. Side effects are unlikely because of the low dose and the short time you will be taking the drug.

Possible side effects include skin rashes, swelling of the salivary glands, and "iodism" (metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, symptoms of a head cold, and sometimes stomach upset and diarrhea).

A few people have an allergic reaction with more serious symptoms. These could be fever and joint pains, or swelling of parts of the face and body and at times severe shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention.

Taking iodide may rarely cause overactivity of the thyroid gland, underactivity of the thyroid gland, or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).

WHAT TO DO IF SIDE EFFECTS OCCUR

If the side effects are severe or if you have an allergic reaction, stop taking potassium iodide. Then, if possible, call a doctor or public health authority for instructions.

HOW SUPPLIED

Tablets (Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.): bottles of [number of tablets in a bottle] tablets

( ). Each white, round, scored tablet contains 130 mg. potassium iodide.

 

The FDA new (November, 2001) guidance document, that brings it more in-line with the recent World Health Organization recommendations below, is titled; "Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies".

It can be seen here fda.htm. That document represents the Food and Drug Administration's current thinking on this topic.

In regards to the differences between the World Health Organization dosing recommendations and these new FDA recommendations, this FDA document states:

    These FDA recommendations differ from those put forward in the World Health Organization (WHO) 1999 guidelines for iodine prophylaxis in two ways. WHO recommends a 130-mg dose of KI for adults and adolescents (over 12 years). For the sake of logistical simplicity in the dispensing and administration of KI to children, FDA recommends a 65-mg dose as standard for all school-age children while allowing for the adult dose (130 mg, 2 X 65 mg tablets) in adolescents approaching adult size. The other difference lies in the threshold for predicted exposure of those up to 18 years of age and of pregnant or lactating women that should trigger KI prophylaxis. WHO recommends a threshold of 1 cGy for these two groups. As stated earlier, FDA has concluded from the Chernobyl data that the most reliable evidence supports a significant increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer at exposures of 5 cGy or greater.

Threshold Thyroid Radioactive Exposures and
Recommended Doses of KI for Different Risk Groups

 

Predicted Thyroid exposure(cGy)

KI dose (mg)

# of 130 mg
tablets

# of 65 mg
tablets

Adults over 40 yrs

>500

130

1

2

Adults over 18 through 40 yrs

>10

Pregnant or lactating women

> 5

Adoles. over 12 through 18 yrs*

65

1/2

1

Children over 3 through 12 yrs

Over 1 month through 3 years

32

1/4

1/2

Birth through 1 month

16

1/8

1/4

*Adolescents approaching adult size (> 70 kg) should receive the full adult dose (130 mg).

The World Health Organization recent recommendations has a step increase in doses by age (chart below) and also states the potential benefit diminishes with older adults. In fact, if only a limited number of Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3 tablets are available, these should always be given to infants, children and young adults first as they are the most vulnerable and also the risk of thyroid cancer fully developing begins to drop off with adults much over 40 years of age.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states:

    "In general, the potential benefit of iodine prophylaxis will be greater in the young, firstly because the small size of the thyroid means that a higher radiation dose is accumulated per unit intake of radioactive iodine. Secondly, the thyroid of the fetus, neonate and young infant has a higher yearly thyroid cancer risk per unit dose than the thyroid of an adult and, thirdly, the young will have a longer time span for the expression of the increased cancer risk."

Also, the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies determined from the Chernobyl data that:

    "They suggest that the risk of thyroid cancer is inversely related to age, and that, especially in young children, it may accrue at very low levels of radioiodine exposure." and also that "...adults over 40 need take KI only in the case of a projected large internal radiation dose to the thyroid (>500 cGy) to prevent hypothyroidism."

Dosing chart from the recently updated 1999 World Health Organization:
Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents

Age Group Mass of iodine
mg
Mass of KI
mg
Mass of KIO3
mg
Fraction of
100 mg tablet
Adults and adolescents
(over 12 years)
100 130 170 1
Children
(3-12 years)
50 65 85 1/2
Infants
(1 month to 3 years)
25 32 42 1/4
Neonates
(birth to 1 month)
12.5 16 21 1/8

To help make sense of any possible dosing confusion and radiation level thresholds, it should be remembered first that you should not commence dosing until so directed by a doctor or public health officials. Also, the biggest difference in dosage and ages, between the two recommendations, is that WHO suggests an adult dose (130mg KI) for everyone over 12 where the FDA suggests an adult dose for everyone over 18, unless the adolescent weighs 70kg (154 lbs) or more. And, again, the primary reason for this divergence from the WHO recommendations is that, according to the FDA: For the sake of logistical simplicity in the dispensing and administration of KI to children, FDA recommends a 65-mg dose as standard for all school-age children while allowing for the adult dose (130 mg, 2 X 65 mg tablets) in adolescents approaching adult size.

At the WHO dosages recommended above, an adverse reaction rate of less than 1 in 10 million children and less than 1 in 1 million adults is expected. However, Potassium Iodide should not be used by people allergic to iodine. According to the WHO, contraindications for use of potassium iodide are: (1) past or present thyroid disease (e.g., active hyperthyroidism), (2) known iodine hypersensitivity, (3) dermatitis herpetiformis, and (4) hypocomplementaemic vasculitis.

You should also check with your doctor before taking this medication if you have myotonia or hyperkalemia congenita or tuberculosis or kidney disease. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/ for more information.

Pregnant women should consult a physician prior to continuing dosages for more than two days. According to the WHO, "No negative consequences are to be expected after one or two doses of stable iodine. However, especially in areas with dietary iodine deficiency, prolonged dosage could lead to maternal and/ or fetal thyroid blockage, with possible consequences for fetal development. ... Pregnant women with active hyperthyroidism must not take stable iodine because of the risk of fetal thyroid blockage."

For pregant or nursing women, and for cautions to the proper dosing of neonates, also read the appropriate sections here in the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies.

The WHO also states, and the FDA concurs, "Side effects in other parts of the body, such as gastrointestinal effects or hypersensitivity reactions, may occur but are generally mild and can be considered of minor importance."

One additional recommendation we urge at KI4U, now before any nuclear emergencies, is simply to check with your doctor and inquire whether there is any possibility of any adverse reactions if you, or your children, had to begin taking KI or KIO3. If you are concerned enough to be reading this and considering acquiring KI or KIO3 for your family, then checking with your doctor first should be a natural step in your prudent preparations, too.

Besides contraindications with pre-exisiting medical conditions, this is also important if you (or they) are taking any regular medications. Especially, though not limited to, Spironolactone (like Aldactone), Triamterene (Dyrenium), Amiloride (Midamor), or medicines for an overactive thyroid, or if you are on medications with any lithium-based or potassium-sparing diuretics.

Better to have gotten that assurance from your physician now, before any emergencies, rather than risk hesitating taking it later (or possibly suffering an adverse reaction) because you didn't ask first. Again, that's just a part of your prudent preparations, where anyone else being issued Potassium Iodide (KI) during an emergency probably won't have that opportunity to find out first!

We have a fair number of medical doctors (often initially sent by their patients), pharmacists, health physicists, and medical schools refer to this FAQ. We are very grateful for the medical communities generous suggestions, and additional related research we've received or have been pointed to. We invite any/all input from the medical community to better fine-tune or expand the research documented at the Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ. -Shane Connor.

 

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Q: Is Iodized Salt, Tincture of Iodine, Water Purification Tabs, or other Iodine Sources Effective?

A: Any dietary iodine sources providing for a normal daily sufficient regimen of iodine intake (about 150 micrograms/day in adults) is preferred in that it will then take less stable iodine (and time) to saturate your thyroid in a nuclear emergency and there will be less room there for radioactive iodine before you do. An iodine sufficient diet will also greatly increase the effectiveness of KI or KIO3, but primarily only in the following limited context and not as a substitute for KI or KIO3:

    An iodine sufficient diet is most beneficial, compared to an insufficient iodine diet, when the initial administration of KI had been unavoidably delayed and the KI could only be first taken after exposure to radioiodine.
From the Health Physics Journal, Volume 78 No. 6, June 2000, "EFFECTS OF TIME OF ADMINISTRATION AND DIETARY IODINE LEVELS ON POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI) BLOCKADE OF THYROID IRRADIATION BY 131-I FROM RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT" Pat B. Zanzonico and David V. Becker (Read abstract by searching title at Health Physics Journal):
    "The 131-I thyroid absorbed dose is two-fold greater with insufficient levels of dietary iodine, 2,900 cGy/37 MBq, than with sufficient levels of dietary iodine, 1,500 cGy/37 MBq. When KI is administered 48 h or less before 131-I intake, the thyroid absorbed doses (in cGy/37 MBq) are comparably low with both sufficient and insufficient dietary iodine levels. When KI is administered after 131-I intake, however, the protective effect of KI is less and decreases more rapidly with insufficient than with sufficient dietary iodine. For example, KI administration 2 and 8 h after 131-I intake yields protective effects of 80 and 40%, respectively, with iodine-sufficient diets, but only 65 and 15% with iodine-deficient diets."
However, in regards to the effective thyroid-blocking protection directly afforded by various sources of dietary iodine, and other iodine applications, taken alone without also utilizing KI or KIO3, it was found...

From the Salt Institue:

    "U.S. salt producers use potassium iodide at a level of 0.006% to 0.01% KI."
According to Morton® Salt:
    "Each 1/4 teaspoon serving of Morton® Iodized Salt (1.5 gram weight) contains 130 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide."
Thus, to achieve an intake of 130 MILLIGRAMS of Potassium Iodide (what one KI adult dose tablet contains) would require ingesting 250 teaspoons or over 5 cups of iodized salt per day! Don't even think about it! (Morton Lite Salt® Mixture comes in lower yet, at only 90 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide per 1/4 teaspoon!)

Sea Salt is an even worse 'option'. Iodine per Kilogram of sea salt is about 3 mg. You'd be looking at over 33 kilograms of Sea Salt a day to achieve the amount of iodine in a 130 mg dose of KI! Hardly an option!

A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish only contains about 500 MICROGRAMS of iodine. Some specific seafoods, portion size and their iodine content in MICROGRAMS: Mackerel 150g 255 mcg, Mussels 150g 180 mcg, Cod 150g 165 mcg, Kipper 150g 107 mcg, Whiting 150g 100 mcg, Fish fingers 75g 75 mcg, Scampi 150g 62 mcg, Herring 150g 48 mcg, Prawns 150g 42 mcg, Sardines, canned in oil 150g 35 mcg, Trout 150g 24 mcg, Tuna 150g 21 mcg.

Well, you can do the math here! More fish per day would be required than most eat in a year!

Kelp Tablets...hardly. Solgar® Kelp Tablets, for example, contain only 225 MICROGRAMS of iodine! (Fortunately, it is also available in a 1000 tablet bottle, unfortunately though, you'd need to be swallowing 442 of them per day and likely not wander too far from a bathroom!)

Medicines containing Potassium Iodide: Potassium iodide (KI) is an old drug used as an expectorant in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It is used to treat coughs with phlegm, feeling of fullness in the chest or pressure in the face/sinuses. Potassium iodide helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to drain bronchial tubes and make coughs more productive. It increases secretions in the respiratory tract in approximately 30 min. Today it is mainly used to treat an overactive thyroid and, of course, to protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation from inhaled or ingested (swallowed) radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide also has anti-infective properties and is sometimes used to treat certain skin conditions caused by fungus, like toenail fungus.

PIMA (Fleming & Company) and SSKI (Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.) are both available in tablets or liquid, but only with a prescription. Another, that used to be a non-prescription cough and expectorant medicine available over-the-counter (OTC) is Pediacof Cough made by Sterling Health, a Division of Miles, Inc. Common 5 ml dose contains Chlorpheniramine 0.75 mg, Codeine 5 mg, Phenylephrine 2.5 mg, Potassium Iodide 75 mg.

Any of the above may or may not be available from your local pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor. We can't and don't recommend you ever take any drug for any reason other than what it was intended for, nor that the suggested dosages should ever be exceeded. There may be other OTC medicines containing Potassium Iodide on the market as well, please pass them on here if you discover any.

Also, FYI, Potassium Iodide can be found in some livestock preparations, too, such as Equi-Tussin, which is a liquid expectorant and aromatic oil supplement for horses. It contains 125 mg of Potassium Iodide per fluid ounce, but it also contains Molasses, Mentholated Syrup of White Pine, Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint Oil, Glyceryl Guiacolate and Ammonium Chloride and is obviously formulated for horses, not people. You might want to keep this in mind, though, for protecting your livestock and pets.

Regarding ingesting (drinking/swallowing) iodine, iodine tablets (widely sold for water purification), tincture of iodine, or Povidone-iodine solutions (like the Betadine® brand solution): Cresson H. Kearny, the author of Nuclear War Survival Skills, Original Edition Published September, 1979, by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition) states on page 115:

    Elemental (free) iodine is poisonous, except in the very small amounts in water disinfected with iodine tablets or a few drops of tincture of iodine. Furthermore, elemental iodine supplied by iodine tablets and released by tincture of iodine dropped into water is not effective as a blocking agent to prevent thyroid damage. If you do not have any potassium iodide, DO NOT TAKE IODINE TABLETS OR TINCTURE OF IODINE.
Iodine is normally used in doses of 8 PPM to treat clear water for a 10 minute contact time. The effectiveness and safety of this dose has been shown in numerous studies. As far back as 1953 in the study "Test of chronic toxicity of iodine as related to the purification of water". U.S. Armed Forces medical journal, 1953, 4:725-728 Morgan DP, Karpen RJ., it was shown that:

    "No adverse health effects were reported in men who drank water providing iodide at doses of 0.17-0.27 mg/kg of body weight per day for 26 weeks"
That works out to a reported safe ingestion of elemental iodine via treated water of between 14 and 22 mg per day for an 180 lb adult. To attempt to achieve a thyroid-blocking dose of nearly 100 mg of iodine (the iodine content of a 130 mg KI tablet) would thus require exceeding that proven safe level by a factor of at least four to seven times for an 180 lb adult. And, this would be with potentially poisonous elemental free iodine that is also claimed above by Cresson H. Kearny to be "...not effective as a blocking agent to prevent thyroid damage."

Additionally, USP tincture of iodine contains 2% iodine and 2.4% sodium iodide dissolved in 50% ethyl alcohol and according to the National Academy of Sciences in Drinking Water and Health. Vol. 3. Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 1980.

    Doses of 30-250 ml of tincture of iodine (about 16-130 mg of total iodine per kg of body weight) have been reported to be fatal.

The small typical one ounce bottle of tincture of iodine contains about two tablespoons or approximately 30 ml of fluid. (The larger pint bottles contain 473 ml.) To a small child, ingesting the small 1 ounce bottle, even if well diluted to make it palatable, could prove fatal.

Everyone needs to understand that all 'tincture of iodine' bottles are clearly marked "POISON" for a very good reason. Ingesting elemental free iodine, such as 'tincture of iodine', in quantities sufficient to attempt thyroid-blocking in a nuclear emergency is not a safe, nor an effective, alternative.

Finally, if someone does attempt thyroid-blocking for themselves or their children by ingesting iodine, iodine water purification tablets, tincture of iodine, or Povidone-iodine solutions (like the Betadine® brand solution), and we are strongly advising against it, they can look forward to:

  • shock (potentially fatal lowering of blood pressure)
  • extreme thirst
  • metallic taste
  • sore teeth, gums and mouth
  • severe headache
  • fever
  • no urine output (kidney failure)
  • corrosive effects on the gastrointestinal tract
  • esophageal stricture, asphyxiation (swelling of the throat, esophagus)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain with internal damage
  • delirium
  • stupor
Then, be prepared to call the Poison Control center for further guidance.
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Give milk, cornstarch, or flour by mouth (15 gm in 500 ml, or just over a pint of water). Continue to give milk every 15 minutes.

And, at the Emergency Room expect some or all of the following procedures to be performed: Gastric lavage (depending on the extent of esophageal injury), establish and maintain airway, be given milk every 15 minutes, and treatment for the symptoms.

BOTTOM LINE: DO NOT INGEST, SWALLOW OR DRINK 'TINCTURE OF IODINE', IT IS POISON!


Topical Iodine Applications

There has been some interesting research, though, with both humans and dogs into topically (on the skin) applied Povidone-Iodine (10%) solution (such as Betadine® or Povidex® solutions), and also with tincture of iodine, to test the absorption rates of iodine directly through the skin. But, it was found not to be as quick in providing thyroid blocking as oral Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3, nor as consistent, and then, often, at lower levels of protection. Questions remain of skin irritation, determining the amount of Iodine solution to apply, where best to apply it, how long to apply it, and the effects of temperature and humidity on absorption through the skin. Also, insufficient testing has been done on specific groups, such as infants, children, and pregnant and nursing women to know how effective it would be and the full range of complications that could be expected with repeated applications. For instance, the skin absorption of iodine products in neonates with inhibition of thyroid function has been documented in the past. The use of Povidone-Iodine is the most frequent cause of this type of intoxication. Another study showed that Povidone-Iodine did not significantly influence neonatal thyroid function if they were used to a full term neonate only once and even to a wide skin surface.

Another source, non-medical, claims that by using the stronger 7% tincture iodine and just dipping the index finger of the person being treated up to the first knuckle (just above the fingernail) would provide the proper dosing. They claim this would work for all people as our fingers are roughly proportionate to our size and weight. That may be true, but that this technique would actually provide sufficient quantity and effective absorption of iodine for thyroid-blocking has not been verified. (Additional documentation and source references have been requested of that author. And, will be promptly posted here if provided.)

Clearly more research is needed before embracing the topically applied techniques as a one-size-fits-all solution, as its limitations must first be more fully understood. However...

According to research by Health Physicist Ken Miller, Hershey Medical Center, using 24 healthy adult male subjects, an adult could get a blocking dose of stable iodine by painting 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm approximately 2 hours prior to I-131 contamination. The abstract of his study titled "Effectiveness of Skin Absorption of Tincture of I in Blocking Radioiodine from the Human Thyroid Gland" from Health Physics, June 1989, Vol. 56, No. 6, pages 911-914, (To read abstract, search the title of the article here) states:

    "Although there were large variations within each subject group in regard to serum-I levels and thyroid uptakes, the increase in serum-I concentration after topical-I application was effective in reducing the thyroid uptake of I131. The authors conclude that in the absence of KI, most humans would benefit from topical application of tincture of-I, and that in some the effectiveness would equal that of oral KI."

Hmmm... interesting Plan "B"(Betadine®) possibilities here, if in a pinch!
 


 
This author continues to see e-mails and forum postings highlighting some of the ongoing confusion regarding different iodine sources and their abilities to provide sufficient levels of iodine for thyroid-blocking radioiodine.

This should help clear it up some more...

Potassium iodide (KI) is 76.5% iodine.

If the FDA recommended amount required for thyroid-blocking radiation protection is 130 milligrams of KI, then that translates into 99.45 milligrams of elemental iodine.

If you are looking at a product, like a kelp liquid for example, that says on the label...

    "2 drops contain -kelp standardized with potassium iodide to contain 0.15 mg (150mcg) of pure organic iodine (150%RDA)"
Then, to attain 99.45 milligrams of iodine (same as what's in one 130 mg tablet of KI) would require ingesting 663 double drops or X 2 = 1326 single drops.

A couple drops is just fine for dietary supplementation of required iodine, but woefully underpowered for saturating the thyroid for radioiodine radiation protection.

 

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Is the Government Ready with Emergency Stocks of Potassium Iodide (KI)?

A: No, but they clearly ought to be according to KI And Nuclear Accidents - AMERICAN THYROID ASSOCIATION:

    "The American Thyroid Association through its Public Health Committee has strongly recommended the stockpiling of KI for prophylaxis in the event of a nuclear reactor accident. Unfortunately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not accepted this recommendation."

Even the latest (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

    "As time is of the essence in optimal prophylaxis with KI, timely administration to the public is a critical consideration in planning the emergency response to a radiation accident and requires a ready supply of KI." and "FDA also emphasizes that emergency response plans and any systems for ensuring availability of KI to the public should recognize the critical importance of KI administration in advance of exposure to radioiodine."

But, at least your government is talking about it again...

U.S. Lacks Stockpile of Special Drug
Anti-Radiation Doses Goal Unmet Since '79

By Justin Gillis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 31, 2001; Page A01

A generation ago, as a nuclear disaster unfolded in central Pennsylvania and 140,000 people fled the area, pharmaceutical executives were rousted from bed in the middle of the night by a plea for help.

At the federal government's request, they cranked up a production line in Illinois at 3 a.m., and hours later, thousands of bottles of potassium iodide, an anti-radiation drug, were secretly rushed to Harrisburg by military jet. Ultimately the nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island was brought under control and the drug was not needed, but it was a close call. When it was over, policymakers in Washington vowed to stockpile the drug, saying they would not be caught short again.

It never happened.

Terrorists have spoken longingly of their desire to blow up the United States' nuclear plants and poison the land with radiation. But if a nuclear disaster were to occur today, whether by terrorist strike or otherwise, the government might well be in the same position it was in1979, trying to scare up supplies of the drug on short notice.

Potassium iodide is often billed on the Internet as a panacea for a nuclear emergency. It is nothing of the sort, offering no protection for most types of radiation exposure. But there is strong scientific evidence that it can protect the thyroid gland, the most radiation-sensitive part of the body, from absorbing trace amounts of radioactive iodine, particularly in young children.

Despite that finding, there has long been a serious debate about how valuable stockpiles of the drug would be in a real-world emergency, since it is most effective when taken within a couple of hours of radiation exposure. Unless people already had it in their houses, skeptics argue, getting it to them that quickly would be difficult, at best. Most European countries and four U.S. states stockpile the drug for general public use, while the rest of the states and the federal government do not.

That policy is under renewed scrutiny since the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax scare that followed. The federal government was better prepared for the anthrax emergency, in fact, than it would be to distribute potassium iodide for radiation. It had stockpiled millions of doses of antibiotics and was able to draw on those stores when thousands of exposed people needed preventive medicine. The lack of a potassium iodide stockpile irks many doctors and other experts who have delved into the issue.

"The first thing is, there ain't none available," said David Becker, a Cornell University specialist in thyroid diseases. "Some of us in organizations like the American Thyroid Association have been yelling and screaming for 15 years about this. It seems to me it doesn't make any sense for the U.S. not to have any at all."

Potassium iodide is not expensive, nor is it difficult to manufacture or store for long periods. The drug is approved for thyroid protection by the Food and Drug Administration, a position the agency reiterated earlier this month.

One reason for the lack of a stockpile is that, however cheap it may be, potassium iodide is also controversial.

The nuclear power industry, which stocks potassium iodide to protect workers in its plants, has long opposed a large public stockpile, carrying as it would the implication that nuclear power might be unsafe.

Some experts charged with protecting the public from radiation oppose it, too, fearing the drug would be seen as a cure-all. These experts contend that evacuation and careful monitoring of the food supply would be better ways to protect public health.

In the halls of Congress and elsewhere in the nation, these arguments are being scrutinized anew. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after going back and forth for years, has adopted a policy that is mildly favorable toward potassium iodide. The Health and Human Services Department is considering whether to add the drug to its national anti-terrorism stockpile.

Under the new NRC policy, states must decide whether to tap NRC funds to create regional or local stockpiles. This means a public discussion of the drug and its potential usefulness is likely to occur in virtually every state over the next year.

The drug is a hot political issue in some communities. Alabama, Arizona, Maine and Tennessee already have some form of stockpiling. The citizens of Duxbury, Mass., who live near a nuclear plant, passed a stockpiling plan last year. Vermont recently pledged an expanded stockpile, and a vigorous debate is underway throughout New England and in some towns in New York.

The World Health Organization recommends stockpiling for every country with nuclear reactors operating within or near its borders. Ireland just announced plans to send the drug to every household in the country.

Potassium iodide availability is one of those issues that rarely rises to public awareness, but it has a long underground history that has played out in Washington and in state capitals over decades. The arguments being heard today are familiar ones to participants in that debate, with fear of terrorism as the new twist.

"In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it's déjà vuall over again," said Jerome Halperin, the man who rousted pharmaceutical executives from bed during the Three Mile Island crisis. He was then an officer of the FDA, and he has a hard time believing the nation has no stockpile 22 years after the federal government promised to build one.

"It's the appropriate, rational, public-health-preparedness thing to do," he said. "Why wouldn't we expect it?"

But others are skeptical of the value of stockpiling. Illinois, for instance, has 11 nuclear reactors operating on six sites, more than any other state, and it has made some of the most elaborate plans in the nation for responding to a radiation emergency. They call for people to evacuate or take shelter when necessary to escape a radiation plume, but they do not call for potassium iodide. Most other states that have considered the issue have adopted the same position.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association for the nuclear industry that has long opposed stockpiling, says it can live with the new NRC policy, but its experts remain skeptical of the real-world value of potassium iodide. "Concern No. 1 is that people not get confused that this is some sort of panacea for any kind of radiation exposure," said Ralph Andersen, chief health physicist at the nuclear institute.

The value -- and the limitations -- of potassium iodide have been known to researchers for decades, and there is little dispute on the scientific points.

Nuclear reactors produce many radioactive substances that can harm people. One, radioactive iodine, poses a particular worry because the human thyroid gland uses iodine as a fundamental building block of hormones that play critical roles in metabolism. The body cannot distinguish the safe form of iodine present in food and table salt from the radioactive form that comes from nuclear reactors.

It has been known since the 1950s that young children are acutely sensitive to radioactive iodine, but the point was illustrated dramatically when the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine blew up in 1986, scattering radiation across hundreds of miles.

For those living at a distance from the plant, virtually the only known health effect has been a huge spike in cases of thyroid cancer among children. At least 2,000 "excess" cases in Ukraine, Belarus and nearby areas have been attributed to Chernobyl radiation. Thyroid cancer can usually be treated, but that may require surgery, regular monitoring and lifetime medication.

The idea behind potassium iodide is that the thyroid gland can store only so much iodine. A potassium iodide pill given near the time of radiation exposure floods the gland with safe iodine and reduces or eliminates the absorption of radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide is the same chemical used to add iodine to table salt, but the pills contain higher doses. Anyone can buy the pills, though they are not widely available in stores and most people do not know about them.

Potassium iodide can protect people only from radioactive iodine, not other kinds of radioactive fallout. Bearing that in mind, skeptics say the much-preferred course, in an accident, would be to get people out of the radioactive plume or into shelters. Advocates of the drug tend to agree, they but argue that if evacuation plans went awry, potassium iodide would be better than nothing.

Whatever the merits of these positions, there is no doubt that during Three Mile Island, the nation's closest brush with nuclear disaster, the government wound up scrambling to round up supplies of the drug at the last minute.

In that episode, a partial "meltdown" at a nuclear plant led to the release of small amounts of radioactive material, including iodine. For several days there was fear the reactor would explode, and state evacuation plans turned out to be woefully inadequate. Given the prospect of widespread radiation exposure, the FDA decided midway through the disaster to rush a supply of potassium iodide to Pennsylvania.

Hunkered down at an FDA emergency center, Halperin and colleagues spent the evening of March 30, 1979, desperately calling pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Finally Mallinckrodt Inc. of St. Louis said it had bulk drug on hand and could package it at a plant in Illinois. The first bottles were flown to Harrisburg the next evening by Air Force jet.

To forestall a riot, no public announcement was made about the drug. The emergency passed without it being used, and eventually the stockpile grew old and was discarded.

A presidential commission that investigated the accident, appalled by this frantic episode, recommended broad stockpiling of the drug in the areas around nuclear reactors, and the NRC agreed. But as memories of the emergency faded, the agency backed out of that commitment, and the issue has been periodically debated ever since.

Many opponents of stockpiling acknowledge that Chernobyl provides compelling evidence of the risk of thyroid cancer from a radiation disaster, but they say a comparable degree of exposure would be unlikely in this country.

When Chernobyl blew up, the Soviet Union spent days lying about the accident and failed to halt distribution of contaminated food. There is evidence that much of the radioactive exposure came from this failure. The radioactive iodine fell on fields, cows ate the grass, and children drank milk from the cows. Safety experts say the United States, by contrast, would almost certainly move quickly to block radioactive food.

The most recent federal policy change on potassium iodide came before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but the issue has taken on a new urgency since those attacks.

The change was initiated from within the NRC itself. Peter Crane, then a lawyer on the agency's staff, was a thyroid-cancer victim who thought the failure to stockpile could not be defended. He filed a petition as a member of the public in 1995, then spent years prodding the agency. It eventually adopted a compromise under which it has pledged to pay for potassium iodide for states that want it.

The NRC is still finalizing plans to implement that policy. Meanwhile, the Health and Human Services Department is considering buying some of the drug to add to its own anti-terrorism stockpiles. However, there is debate about whether the drug could be distributed from these regional stockpiles quickly enough to do any good.

The most aggressive plan would be to follow several European countries in distributing the drug to every household. But American experience suggests that would be a difficult policy to maintain over the long term. Tennessee launched such a program in the early 1980s for people living near nuclear plants, but participation has dropped to about 5 percent of households.

Tennessee maintains stockpiles near its emergency shelters, however, and is confident it could make the drug available quickly to large numbers of people.

"It doesn't seem like very much of a burden, what we're doing," said Ruth Hagstrom, the state health administrator who would give the order if potassium iodide ever had to be used in Tennessee. "We're sort of happy with the way we do things, and we wonder why everybody else doesn't do it, too."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company

The above referred government discussions, commitments and bills are certainly hopeful, but remember those proposed Potassium Iodide (KI) emergency stocks are not yet in-place for any nuclear radiation emergency today, nor for tomorrow. (With the exception of some very limited state funded Potassium Iodide (KI) stockpiling in Alabama, Arizona, Maine, and Tennessee. And, some recent dispensing of a couple tablets each to residents very close to nuclear plants in NY, NJ, and soon, California.)

Peter Crane (Lawyer, recently retired from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission after 20 years.) explained September 13, 1999 :

    "The American Thyroid Association has been pleading since 1989 for a more enlightened policy on KI. The World Health Organization is moving toward recommending more aggressive intervention with KI. The international Basic Safety Standards, to which the U.S. is a signatory, call for KI to be part of emergency planning. Internationally, the NRC's penny-pinching on KI is bringing no glory to U.S. radiation protection efforts. If you talk to doctors and radiation protection specialists from other countries, they shake their heads in disbelief that the United States believes it cannot afford the million or two or three dollars it would take to bring its children's protection up to world standards. (The international community can also see, from the frequency with which NRC Commissioners jet around the world, that the NRC is not completely strapped for funds.) "

Remember, too, that you must start taking Potassium Iodide (KI) before you are exposed to attain the maximum flooding of your thyroid with stable iodine and thus blocking subsequent uptake of radioiodine contamination.

Unless the government not only acquires sufficient Potassium Iodide (KI) stock for the public, but also then provides it to each household to stock and hold themselves, so as to have it ready on hand BEFORE a nuclear radiation emergency event, then critical life-saving time would still be needlessly wasted trying to distribute it during a nuclear radiation emergency. (Only about 7,500 Americans, people living within a few miles of a nuclear power plant in Tennessee, have been given prophylactic potassium iodide to keep in their homes. And, some recent dispensing of a couple tablets each to residents very close to nuclear plants in NY, NJ, and soon, California.)

Any government attempts to quickly dispense millions of doses to the affected and frantic target populations downwind of an ongoing nuclear radiation emergency would surely be a scene of great panic and disarray. The resultant delays created in attempting to distribute KI, in mass, in that fearful and anxious atmosphere would also have unnecessarily exposed that population to even higher radiation contaminations.

Also, read the fascinating Three Mile Island: The Rest of the Story... (Govt. scramble to get KI to TMI!)

Unfortunately, even that better-late-than-never potential distribution chaos is not likely an option as, to date, the government 'stockpiles' are currently tiny and woefully insufficient. Unfortunately, too, you can not count on the arrival of new government Potassium Iodide (KI) supplies being established in-place to protect your family any time soon. (A variety of government agencies have been 'talking about' stockpiling Potassium Iodide (KI) for public protection ever since Three Mile Island---over twenty years ago!)

And, as Peter Crane further details:

    "As a result, we are still in a pre-Three Mile Island state of preparedeness on KI, when the drug is routinely stockpiled (and in some countries predistributed to individual houses) in many European countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, etc., plus Japan and Canada."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on September 30, 1998 admitted in COMSECY-98-016 - FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

    However, the stockpiles are limited and are not likely to provide enough KI for use by the general public in a major radiological emergency.
Governments world-wide are now stockpiling potassium iodide for their citizens but, amazingly, not here in the U.S. For an insightful and in-depth look 'behind the curtains' of the NRC KI debate, read the full text of what Peter Crane, the recently retired lawyer with the NRC (after over 20 years) has to say in The NRC's "Fighter Jet Rule" on KI.

   

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Will Potassium Iodide (KI) Flush Radioactive Iodine Out of the Thyroid Gland?

A: The question might better be; If you don't have any Potassium Iodide (KI) and rely on the government to acquire and distribute KI, and after some delay, you do eventually get Potassium Iodide (KI) for your family, but it's now hours or days into the nuclear radiation emergency, will Potassium Iodide (KI) still help?

Yes and No.

Yes, but only to the degree your thyroid is still less than 100% saturated with either form of iodine (radioactive or stable). Then the Potassium Iodide (KI) will safely fill up the balance so your thyroid will not have room for later additional uptake of radioactive iodine.

But, No, Potassium Iodide (KI) can't flush out radioactive iodine that's already there before taking KI.

Physicians for Civil Defense January 1997 (vol. 13, #2) Cresson H. Kearny, Research Engineer Retired, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Jane M. Orient, M.D.:

    In fact, radioactive isotopes, once bound in the thyroid, cannot be flushed out by subsequent administration of nonradioactive iodine. To be effective in preventing the uptake and binding of radioactive isotopes, stable iodine must be administered before exposure. A daily 130-mg dose of stable KI, starting one-half hour to one day before the arrival of fallout or other material contaminated with radioactive iodine, will effectively saturate the thyroid, giving 99% effective protection. A 130-mg tablet or four drops of a saturated solution of KI may be used.
NCRP 65, "Management of Persons Accidentally Contaminated with Radionuclides," (page 138) states:
    "...Only about 50 percent of the uptake is blocked if the iodide administration is delay six hours and little effect can be achieved if the delay is more than 12 hours... If stable iodied is given after the first 24 hours, it may sometimes prolong the retention of iodine, since it suppressses the release of thyroid hormone..."
Also, from the Health Physics Journal, Volume 78 No. 6, June 2000, "EFFECTS OF TIME OF ADMINISTRATION AND DIETARY IODINE LEVELS ON POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI) BLOCKADE OF THYROID IRRADIATION BY 131-I FROM RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT" Pat B. Zanzonico and David V. Becker (Read abstract by searching title at Health Physics Journal):
    "KI administration 2 and 8 h after 131-I intake yields protective effects of 80 and 40%, respectively, with iodine-sufficient diets, but only 65 and 15% with iodine-deficient diets. KI administration 16 h or later after 131-I exposure will have little effect on thyroid uptake and absorbed dose and therefore little or no protective effect."
Clearly, any delay in flooding your thyroid with Potassium Iodide (KI) is a serious risk to be aggressively avoided, especially for your children. To depend on government KI emergency stocks that currently don't exist and some ad-hoc untested distribution 'plan' that'll likely be chaotic, at best, can only add up to unnecessary additional delays and radiation exposure. Add to this having your family members possibly scattered amongst work, home, school, etc. and all getting conflicting warnings and at varied times, and it becomes clear that NOT already having your Potassium Iodide (KI) in-hand could become your worst family nightmare.

BUT, it can/should be a largely avoidable disaster for your loved ones, IF you had already acquired your families emergency supply of Potassium Iodide (KI) and have them on hand! (You could then also be of service to your community in two ways: #1 - By sharing any extra Potassium Iodide (KI) supplies with friends and neighbors and, #2 - By being one less person standing in line in front of your other neighbors anxiously awaiting the delayed government Potassium Iodide (KI) hand out.)

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.


DUE TO THE LARGE SIZE OF THE FAQ,
PART 2 IS HERE... faq-part-2.htm
OR SIMPLY CLICK ON ANY TOPIC LINK BELOW.


Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Quick Summary of FAQ.
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ What Is Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Does Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Provide Anti-Radiation Protection?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is This The Magic Anti-Radiation Protection Pill?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Radioactive Iodine: Bad News / Good News!?!
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Dosage and Safety Regarding Potassium Iodide (KI) Usage?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is Iodized Salt, Sea Salt, Fish, Kelp, or other Iodine Sources Effective?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Is the Government Ready with Emergency Stocks of Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Will Potassium Iodide (KI) Flush Radioactive Iodine Out of the Thyroid Gland?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ What About Potassium Iodate (KIO3)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Do You Make a Potassium Iodide (KI) Solution?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Long Term Stability of Stocked Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ How Much Personally Stocked Potassium Iodide (KI) is Enough?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ When Should I Take Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ For How Long Should I Take Potassium Iodide (KI)?
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Candid Product Evaluations by FAQ Author
Potassium Iodide (iodine) Radiation Protection FAQ Locations and Daily Status of Nuclear Reactors in US?
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