Potassium Iodide, Radiation and the Thyroid

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Updated April 12, 2011.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, the post-9/11 fears of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities, and the March 2011 disaster at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant are all situations that have focused attention on protecting the thyroid gland from radiation. In particular, the use of the supplement potassium iodide - also known by its chemical symbol KI -- is of interest, because it can help prevent radiation-induced thyroid cancer. The following are key resources regarding radiation and the thyroid. 

10 Things You Should Know About Protecting Your Thyroid From Radiation

Here are ten important things that Americans need to know about protecting the thyroid gland from radiation, and the use of potassium iodide as a radiation blocker.More »

Japanese Meltdown: Different Perspectives Cause Confusion

With news that rising radiation levels in soil and seawater around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant are evidence of a meltdown, concerns are rising about the radioactive dangers from the troubled plant. And in the U.S., the concerns are also focused on whether the radiation may be harmful to the health of people outside Japan. And if so, how do those of us not in Japan protect ourselves against radiation? Do we even need to? More »

Protecting Yourself and Your Thyroid From Radiation

As reports indicate that elevated levels radioactive iodine are showing up water, milk and some food in the United States, should Americans trust the EPA, which says it's all within normal ranges, or Physicians for Social Responsibility, who say: there is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period." And either way, what can you do to minimize any risks?More »

Japanese Nuclear Crisis Rated a 7, Considered Equal to Chernobyl

Japanese officials have announced that they upgraded the severity of the Fukushima nuclear accident from a 5 to the maximum of 7, the highest rating given to a nuclear accident. The IAEA describes a level 7 event as "a major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures". The only nuclear accident ever rated 7 by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) has been Chernobyl, which took place around 25 years ago, on April 26, 1986.More »

Is Japanese Seafood Dangerous to Your Thyroid and Health?

I went out to dinner and had Japanese food. With radioactivity detected in the ocean near the Fukushima plant, and now in algae and fish in Japanese waters, I had to wonder if I got a side order of radioactive iodine 131 with my sushi?More »

Radiation Levels in Tokyo's Tap Water Unsafe for Infants and Unborn Babies

On March 23, 2011, Japanese officials issued warnings that radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water supply was exceeding guidelines for safety in infants.More »

Poll: How Are You Responding to the Japanese Radiation Emergency?

People are responding in many different ways to the Japanese reactor leaks and the resulting radiation emergency in Japan, and have differing views on how to protect their thyroid health. In this poll, readers identify the ways they are reacting to the radiation risks, and share their thoughts about the concerns over radiation from the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant.More »

Should Americans Take Iodine to Protect Against Japanese Radiation?

Tthe March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- and the subsequent damage to the reactors -- created a great deal of speculation as to the need for Americans to use potassium iodide to protect the thyroid from radiation. One of the nation's leading endocrinologists, Theodore Friedman, MD, PhD, offered his advice on the issue.More »

Where to Find Reliable Information About Potassium Iodide and the Thyroid

Supplement manufacturers and distributors -- as well as some radiation and medical "experts" -- seem to have an interest in stoking the fear and frenzy over the Japanese nuclear disaster. Where can you go for legitimate, sound information on the use of potassium iodide for thyroid protection during a radiation emergency? Here are some reliable sources.More »

Global Rush on Potassium Iodide Pills as Japanese Nuclear Disaster Worsens

A look at the panic buying and resulting global shortage of potassium iodide, the supplement that can help protect the thyroid gland in the event of radiation exposure.More »

Japanese Nuclear Disaster Raises U.S. Interest in Potassium Iodide

A look at the use of potassium iodide for thyroid protection, not only in lieu of the Japanese situation, but also given the prevalence of nuclear reactors in earthquake zones in the United States.More »
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