Because of the fear that the radiation from the Japanese nuclear meltdowns will hit the Western United states (see this and this), potassium iodide has sold out in most health food and supplement stores in many California, Oregon and Washington locations.
People know that it’s good to take potassium iodide to protect against radiation, to help protect against thyroid cancer (potassium iodide does not protect any other organs).
But taking potassium iodide when there is no radiation can actually damage the thyroid gland … at least in some individuals.
Finland’s radiation and nuclear safety authority STUK said in a statement … “Iodine tablets should not be taken without recommendations from officials, because the risk of side effects is greater than the possible benefit,” the authority warned.
Indeed, the New York Times notes:
Experts in Japan and the United States say the country is now facing a cascade of accumulating problems that suggest that radioactive releases of steam from the crippled plants could go on for weeks or even months.
You can’t take potassium iodide for months on end.
Ideally, buy potassium iodide now, and monitor radiation levels by looking at real-time monitoring networks such as this and this. Don’t take iodide unless and until elevated radiation levels hit your area.
- 130 milligrams for adults
- 65 milligrams for children
Each 24 hours that one is exposed to radiation.
Sees this for further details.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a health professional, and this should not be taken as medical advice. You should consult your doctor before making any decisions about whether or not to take potassium iodide.