Potassium Iodide Pills
March 16, 2011 by staff
“There was some precipitation yesterday and today,” Judy Gallagher, director of pharmacy at Bay Ridges Pickering said Tuesday. “One gentleman said he had been in an earthquake before and was just after the events concerned in Japan.”
Japanese tsunami survivors living in the vicinity of four nuclear reactors hit factory of Fukushima Dai-ichi are told to take potassium iodide tablets as a precaution against cancer of the thyroid.
Locally, “People want peace of mind or to be prepared,” said Gallagher, who needs to replenish after several requests. “Normally we do a bottle every six months.”
KI pills say have long been freely available in pharmacies several people who live or work within 10 km of the Pickering and Darlington plants.
They work in a preventive way by filling the thyroid gland in non-radioactive iodine so there is no place for the radioactive iodine to accumulate. It is then excreted in urine.
“The thyroid needs iodine to produce thyroid hormone, said Alvin Powers, an endocrinologist and professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee
“If there is radioactive iodide in everything we eat or drink it is concentrated in the thyroid, remains and emits radiation in the thyroid,” Powers said.
Children are considered most vulnerable. After the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986, rates of thyroid cancer among children in Belarus and Ukraine increased substantially.
Taken before exposure, potassium iodide can provide protection for hours, and may also be beneficial taken within three or four hours after exposure. But it only protects against cancer of the thyroid, not other forms of radiation sickness.
Ministry of Health in Durham Region, which distributes the pills as a precaution through five pharmacies, schools, childcare, emergency services and hospitals in the primary zone, reported an increase in calls on his telephone.
With the constant threat of radioactive leaks in Japan, “I think it’s reasonable that people start to think,” said Ken Gorman, director of the division of environmental health.
But he quickly solved the problems, saying no one is in any danger from that country and the likelihood of a similar situation happening here is “extremely low”.
He said there was no danger outside the radius of 10 km. More information about the pill is available on the website of the Ministry of Health durham.ca.
Doris Hopper, who lives three miles from nuclear reactors at Pickering, kept his hand on the pills for years, on the advice of her pharmacist.
“The events in Japan I had them open and read the instructions, I had not done before,” she said. “We should all be educated and know what to do if a disaster were to happen here.”
Courtice Pharmasave, a few kilometers northwest of Darlington, has been “a bit of panic,” said owner Elaine Dias. “We’ve had several calls asking if we continue (the pill).”
In Vancouver, British Columbia was frightened, trying to protect them against potential drift of radiation. Responding to reports of storage on the west coast, Health Canada issued a statement Tuesday saying it “does not recommend the public to take special measures to protect themselves from a radiological emergency, including the purchase or consumption of potassium iodide. ”
“There certainly panic,” scoffed pharmacist Cristina Alarcon. “How big is the ocean?” I think it’s a little ridiculous. ”
Potassium iodide will not protect against another danger, cesium potential, which was released at Chernobyl. Cesium is absorbed into the body and remains in the organs, tissues and the environment much longer. BBC News indicates the level released in Japan so far less than half the amount that would cause radiation sickness in a person exposed to them, but enough to lower the production of blood cells in bone marrow and increase the risk of fatal cancer to 4 per cent.
Health officials said there was no risk to Canadians of Japanese nuclear plants because all the radiation would be dispersed over five or six days it would take nuclear particles to cross the Pacific.
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