Friday, I was watching the news and caught a piece about Belgium issuing Iodine pills countrywide. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/belgium-issues-iodine-pills-all-citizens-nuclear-emergency-plan-n564606
My first thought was, Nice! Wish they would do that here. My second thought was; I wonder how easy it is to purchase some for my family just as a backup option in the event of a nuclear leak or other calamity.
Today, while checking out TSA stuff while packing for Ireland, I thought I’d take a look at what Iodine pills do, how they work, and what the benefits and risks consists of.
If you’ve already watched or read another such report, I’m advising you to visit the above link, and read it carefully before making any other decisions.
You’ll note that they specifically say in the second sentence, “A dose of iodine, which helps to limit the effects of radiation on the body, will be made available to all 11 million people in the small country, Health Minister Maggie De Block told reporters Thursday.”
But after reading on, I stumble over a small adjustment to their first statement in the eighth sentence. “…iodine tablets, which work by filling the thyroid gland and preventing the absorption of radioactive iodide.”
Later, I reach the third to last sentence where I read this, “The substance in the tablets, Potassium iodide, can’t protect the body from other radioactive elements and can cause side effects including gastro-intestinal upset, allergic reactions, rashes, and inflammation of the salivary glands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Understandably irritated at the apparent factoid camo tactic, I elected to find a more precise and reliable source before making any decision one way or the other. This is where I ended up: http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/ki.html
Here, I received a very matter-of-fact answer. It absolutely will not protect anything other than your thyroid from radiation. So basically, we can rest easy in the solace that while the rest of our bodies slowly rot away, we can be thankful that our thyroids will still be nearly untouched and completely recognizable following our slow death or the faster one more likely to insue by my own hand with several bullets to my brain.
And yet this site goes on to report, “In the last several years the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency have written and released recommendations and reports on the use of KI in emergency situations. In December 2001, the NRC sent a letter to states informing them that if they wanted, and if they met certain conditions in their emergency-response planning, the NRC would provide stockpiles of KI for populations within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant. As of May 2002, 13 states have either requested or received KI supplies.”
I about choked on my coffee as I finished the paragraph which left me wondering, Huh? What exactly are the certain conditions in their emergency-response planning which would validate the need to use or store even one of these pills?
Yet another example of our hard-earned tax dollars at work for us!