Radiation Exposure

March 16, 2011 by staff 

Radiation Exposure, (Reuters) – Explosions in nuclear reactors in Japan damaged by the earthquake last week’s tsunami and the radiation released into the atmosphere.

Wind direction determines where the radiation will travel. If high levels into the atmosphere, those exposed are usually given potassium iodide to help prevent thyroid cancer.

Here are some facts about potassium iodide:

* Potassium iodide is a common form of salt, like table salt. It can protect the thyroid from radiation and cancer caused by radioactive iodine. Chemically known as KI, substance saturates the thyroid gland in non-radioactive iodine, reducing the amount of dangerous radioactive iodine in the gland can absorb.

* Potassium iodide is most effective if administered before exposure can provide protection for hours. It will have beneficial effects if taken three to four hours after exposure, as well.

* Children are considered most at risk from radiation exposure, whether by air or contaminated food or milk. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 significantly increases the rate of thyroid cancer were detected among children in countries like Belarus and Ukraine.

* Pharmacies in the United States do not usually potassium iodide stock, but is easily accessible through many outlets on the Internet.

* The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends that states with people living in a -mile (16 km) of commercial nuclear power plants stockpiles of potassium iodide as a protective measure for the general public. Individual countries to decide their own policies.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York and Chicago Susan Kelly, edited by Frank McGurty)

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