The Japanese Earthquake and Fukushima Reactor Failure endanger Western US

Fallout Map From Fukushima Destroyed Nuclear Plant

Custom Search


West Coast USA Danger IF Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown

“If they can’t restore power to the plant (and cool the reactor), then there’s the possibility of some sort of core meltdown”. An alarming statement made by James Acton, a physicist who examined Japan’s Kashiwazaki nuclear plant after a 2007 earthquake, who told CNN that Japanese authorities are in race to cool down the Fukushima reactor.

Following the fifth largest earthquake in recorded world history, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, has resulted in the closure of all Japan’s nuclear power reactors, one of which, the Fukushima reactor, is overheating and in danger of a meltdown if coolant is not restored soon. It’s like a pressure cooker… when you have something generating heat and you don’t cool it off or release the steam…

ARE YOU READY FOR AN EMERGENCY?

Emergency Kits – Affordable and Customizable. Stay Safe!

Reported from abc NEWS, Scientists said that even though the reactor had stopped producing energy, its fuel continues to generate heat and needs steady levels of coolant to prevent it from overheating and triggering a dangerous cascade of events.

They go on to say, “Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances,”

“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist.

Fukushima I (there are two plant locations) is one of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world.

SUPERMOON CONNECTION?

How would a nuclear plant meltdown unfold?

* Control rods are driven back down into the core upon emergency (if rods don’t make it all the way… trouble)
* The coolant (water) could cease if backup systems fail (electricity, pumps, generators, batteries)
* Reactor continues to produce heat
* Numerous venting valve systems would release pressure above ~1,000 psi into containment vessel
* Eventually the uranium fuel encasement metal will melt (2,200 deg F)
* Radioactive contamination then released into the reactor vessel
* Radiation escapes into an outer, concrete containment building
* Radiation escapes into the environment.

Not only would such a disaster be horrible for the local region and Japan, but other countries, namely the U.S. would be effected next by airborne radiation particles, the magnitude of which is yet to be determined.

Why would the west coast USA be in danger?

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States. Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet.

Image of the Jet Stream from Japan to the U.S.

jet-stream-japan-to-usa

Update,
BBC News Asia-Pacific is now reporting that radiation levels inside the nuclear reactor are 1,000 times of normal, and there are now high levels (unspecified) ‘outside’ of the nuclear reactor plant. They report that people are being evacuated in an approximate 6-mile perimeter.
Map of Nuclear Power Plant Reactors in Japan

japan-nuclear-reactor-map


Fukushima Power Plant, Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) diagram

fukushima-boiling-water-reactor-bwr-basic-diagram

Update,
The Washington Post reports that a second nuclear reactor in the Fukushima power plant is also affected. The plant has a total of six reactors. Reports only a few hours left on battery power for cooling systems.

Update,
Clarification from NHK Wolrd News Japan… a second location, Fukushima II, not far from the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, is also experiencing cooling problems. The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said equipment failures have made it impossible to cool 3 of the plant’s 4 reactors. (Translation: ‘impossible’ is not a good word).

Update,
Reuters is now reporting that Tokyo Electric Power Company has lost ability to control pressure at some of the reactors at its Fukushima II (Daini) plant nearby the Daiichi power plant (Fukushima I), both suffering from core cooling problems. If battery power at Fukushima II is depleted before AC power is restored, the plant will stop supplying water to the core and the cooling water level in the reactor core will drop.

Update,
Kyodo news reports that the cooling system has now failed at three nuclear reactors at Fukushima II, and the coolant water temperature has reached boiling level.

Update,
Kyodo news reports, “the operator of the two plants in Fukushima Prefecture is set to release pressure in containers housing their reactors under an unprecedented government order, so as to avoid the plants sustaining damage and losing their critical containment function.” …”the action would involve the release of steam that would likely include radioactive materials”

Update,
From Kyodo news, Japan, URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant. The core at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor may be partially melting, the nuclear safety agency said Saturday.

Reuters, Japan authorities: TEPCO plant fuel rods may have melted -Jiji, …could develop into a breach of the nuclear reactor vessel and the question then becomes one of how strong the containment structure around the vessel is and whether it has been undermined by the earthquake

Update,
Reuters, An explosion was heard and smoke was seen at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, Jiji news agency quoted the police as saying on Saturday.

Outer structure of building that houses reactor at Fukushima plant appears to have blown off – NHK by Reuters_TonyTharakan at 3/12/2011 8:12:43 AM12:12 AM

Tepco says explosion may have been hydrogen used to cool Fukushima plant – Kyodo; Tepco says 4 people taken to hospital after reported explosion, no word on condition – Jiji

Update,
From The Associated Press, An explosion at a nuclear power station Saturday destroyed a building housing the reactor…the explosion destroyed the exterior walls of the building where the reactor is placed, but not the actual metal housing enveloping the reactor.

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and caught fire, sending a cloud of radiation over much of Europe. That reactor – unlike the Fukushima one – was not housed in a sealed container, so there was no way to contain the radiation once the reactor exploded.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

Things to know about Cesium-137, “IF” there is a complete meltdown and release into the environment

(also spelled, Caesium)

Where does cesium-137 come from?

Radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission. Examples of the uses of this process are nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.

What is the half life?

The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years. Because of the chemical nature of cesium, it moves easily through the environment. This makes the cleanup of cesium-137 difficult.

How do people come in contact with cesium-137?

Walking on contaminated soil could result in external exposure to gamma radiation. People may ingest cesium-137 with food and water, or may inhale it as dust. It is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the body’s soft tissues. Exposure may also be external (that is, exposure to its gamma radiation from outside the body).

How can cesium-137 affect people’s health?

Exposure to radiation from cesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. If exposures are very high, serious burns, and even death, can result. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says everyone is exposed to minute amounts of cesium-137. The average annual dose in the Northern Hemisphere is less than 1 millirem annually. That falls below the 100 millirem exposure limit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends.

(information sourced from the U.S. EPA)

Ionizing Radiation “Harmful effects of radiation

Update,
There have been maps circulating around the blogosphere showing the would-be radiation pattern from Japan across the Pacific Ocean. In fact, one map indicates a long 7-day time frame to reach the west coast U.S…

One must use common sense when considering this possibility. It’s all really quite straight forward. Any particles would flow with the wind. Period. All one needs to do is know the wind pattern from the day of release, namely, the Jet stream. Currently the Jet Stream is moving over Japan and streaming across the ocean towards the U.S. (as it pretty much always does). The average speed of the jet is about 100 – 120 knots, or about 110 – 140 mph. Simple math, 4,500 miles divided by 120 mph equals about 37 hours (plus or minus). A day and a half. End of story.

Note, it’s all about the wind pattern. There are weather sites that illustrate this and update regularly. The first image of this post shows the current jet stream as of post time, which will wiggle waggle throughout time.

Also note, “IF” and whatever amount of radiation is released, will disperse rapidly from the site. It’s not like there will be millions of glowing people on the west coast U.S. 36 hours later, but there would certainly be some amount of exposure given the current jet. Not qualified to surmise how much that would be… Those in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima would obviously be tragically affected.

http://modernsurvivalblog.com/nuclear/west-coast-usa-danger-if-japan-nuclear-reactor-meltdown/

When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Like from Japan, Iran or North Korea!)

Surviving Radioactive Fallout & Radiation Contamination from Japan, Iran or North Korea
Also, Mid-East, South Korea, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Chernobyl, etc.

By Shane Connor
March 12th, 2011

This guide ‘When An ill Wind Blows From Afar! (Like from Japan Fukushima reactor)’ deals specifically with radioactive fallout that originated from afar, like a Chernobyl in the past, or Iran in the future that’s had its nuclear facilities bombed, releasing radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, or a North Korea gone mad, etc. This guide provides panic dispelling knowledge so people downwind can more promptly initiate appropriate protective actions, as required.

This is the third in the series that begins with The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at www.ki4u.com/goodnews.htm that debunks the myths of nuclear un-survivability and What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent! at www.ki4u.com/guide.htm that details the practical methods for American families to protect themselves from nuclear explosion(s) and fallout originating here.

America’s next nuclear concerns may not have originated here,
but be instead from a nuclear bomb or nuclear release overseas.

A Chernobyl-type event affecting people in other countries downwind
and far away from the actual event itself, as depicted in Map ‘A’ below.

Or, a nuclear blast, like when a single, and very small, above ground
Chinese nuclear test explosion on December 28, 1966 resulted in the
fallout cloud covering most of the United States a few days later, as
depicted in this now declassified Map ‘B’ below.

The important thing to recognize in the charts above is that here in the Northern Hemisphere, via upper wind Prevailing Westerlies, anything unleashed to the west of the USA could be coming here next.

In a future event, if not huge and/or multiple releases, most people very far downwind will either not experience any radioactive fallout, or not of high enough quantity and intensity, to be of significant concern. However, there can be exceptions, as detailed below.

Radiation Dosage

Most watched today, for future radioactive fallout and radiation contamination, is from Japans’ Fukushima reactor releasing radioactive contaminants into the air, that could next be drifting downwind towards North America…

Other future potential risks include Iran and North Korea, where their nuclear facilities could be bombed, releasing radioactive contaminants into the air, drifting downwind, too.

Iran nuclear facilities

There will be a big difference whether the ‘event’ is a nuclear power plant accident or conventional bombs used in Iran or North Korea or actual nuclear weapons, as well as in how many locations in Iran or North Korea, in both how much fallout is created and how high it is ejected into those upper winds, that will affect greatly how much and far downwind the fallout will then be a serious threat.

Of course, anything could happen anywhere anytime, like it has now in Japan, not just from Iran or North Korea in the future.

North Korea missle ranges

Other areas of concern, besides Iran or North Korea, are from other countries in the Mid-East, South Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, China, or even another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island anywhere, like in Japan today, etc.

There would be justifiable concern for those immediately downwind and thus protective actions that they will need to promptly undertake to protect themselves from radioactive fallout and radiation contamination. Usually either evacuation or sheltering, along with prophylactic Potassium Iodide (KI) for protection against radioactive iodine. (More on that below.) Much further downwind, like here in USA, the effects will be substantially less pronounced, though some measured protective actions, like Potassium Iodide (KI), may be indicated in some areas.

For everyone, though, without the basic knowledge presented here, they risk unnecessary panic that could become even more widespread than the fallout itself.

It’s hard to say how much fallout will fall here from overseas, like Japan or Iran or North Korea, until it does, but it’s very unlikely that it would ever be enough to require Americans to utilize fallout shelters to survive it, as they would if a nuke was exploded upwind of them right here in America, as detailed in What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent! at www.ki4u.com/guide.htm.

The fallout threat here in the USA, from an ‘event’ originating far overseas, like Iran or North Korea or Japan, will be based upon four factors;

– Type and quantity of radioactive isotopes unleashed; nuclear fission bomb(s) and/or nuclear materials facility.
– Resulting plume or mushroom cloud altitude and wind direction and speed.
– Distance and time before arriving at your location.
– Ultimate isotope type and quantity falling out at your specific location.

What is radioactive fallout?

Radioactive fallout is the particulate matter (dust) produced by a nuclear explosion and carried high up into the air by the mushroom cloud. It drifts on the wind and most of it settles back to earth downwind of the explosion. The heaviest, most dangerous, and most noticeable fallout, will ‘fall out’ first closer to ground zero. It may begin arriving minutes after an explosion. The smaller and lighter dust-like particles will drift much farther downwind, often for hundreds of miles. Higher ejected fallout can even travel thousands of miles for weeks. Once it arrives, whether visible or not, most that will fall will have done so usually in under an hour once it begins, coating everything just like dust does on the ground, cars, trees, roofs, etc. Often visible as a fine dark grit on white surfaces, but not always.

However, rain can concentrate the fallout into localized ‘hot spots’ of much more intense radiation with no visible indication. For instance, as happened in Troy, NY in April 27, 1953 when a thunderstorm rained down fallout there, from a nuclear test in Nevada two days earlier, that produced readings up to a thousand times higher than normal background radiation, equivalent to readings taken only 200 miles away from the test site in Nevada. More details about this ‘rainout’ at “Thunderstorm in Troy” at http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:fNUVgxa5OEUJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en.

If not an actual nuke explosion, though, like with nuclear facilities at Japans’ Fukushima reactor, the fallout from Japan should not rise as high without the mushroom cloud of a conventionally exploded nuclear bomb. Thus, more of the radioactive fallout from Japanese nuclear facilities would not fall as far away, but be concentrated more inside Japan and the neighbors of Japan on the map immediately downwind.

The terms “radiation” and “radioactivity” are often confused. The proper relationship between the terms is that “radioactive atoms emit radiation.” This radioactive fallout ‘dust’ is dangerous because it is emitting alpha, beta and, most importantly, penetrating gamma radiation (similar to x-ray’s). This gamma radiation (not the radioactive fallout dust) can go right through walls, roofs and protective clothing. Even if you manage not to inhale or ingest the dust, and keep it off your skin, hair, and clothes, and even if none gets inside your house, the radiation penetrating your home could still be extremely dangerous, and can injure or kill you inside. BUT, ONLY IF the quantity and intensity of the fallout at your specific location was high.

The further downwind, especially from fallout originating far overseas, and baring any rainouts as described above, that sparse fallout and its declining radiation will be very much less dangerous, both from the natural atmospheric dispersion and natural decay over time before it arrives.

Kaspersky Lab E-Store

Radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion, though very dangerous initially, loses its intensity quickly because it is giving off so much energy. For example, fallout emitting gamma ray radiation at a rate over 1000 R/hr (fatal with half hour of exposure) shortly after an explosion, weakens to only 1/10th as strong 7 hours later. Two days later, it’s only 1/100th as strong, or as deadly, as it was initially. And, two weeks later, it is only 1/1000th as strong as it was initially. (However, radioactive fallout from sources other than a nuclear explosion, such as conventionally bombed nuclear plants or nuclear processing facilities in Iran, will likely have a higher percentage of isotopes of longer lasting duration, but fortunately likely not get into the upper winds to travel as far, compared to if a nuke was used on them in Iran.) Nuclear Fallout Time Effects

A nuclear explosion creates a fallout ‘soup’ of 200 or so different radioactive isotopes, that become ever more dispersed over distance downwind, weakening with every passing hour, and whatever little still remains far downwind, that we might later inhale or ingest then, is even further dispersed in our bodies. They pose much less of a risk then than if they were to be concentrated into one small specific area of the body, like radioactive iodine (radioiodine) does in our thyroid glands.

The most widespread concern we would most likely see here…

…from well dispersed fallout originating from far overseas, will be from ingesting and/or inhaling radioiodine, mostly Iodine-131 (I-131). Radioiodine could also contaminate pastures, livestock and crops, most especially dairyland pastures and ultimately milk supplies for up to a month. Radioiodine has been long proven to be a major constituent of both nuclear explosions and nuclear power plant mishaps and is especially of concern as it uniquely re-concentrates itself into our tiny thyroid glands giving that gland a much higher dose and the highest risk for cancer later.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported that:

Chernobyl also demonstrated that the need to protect the thyroid from radiation was greater than expected. Within ten years of the accident, it became clear that thyroid damage caused by released radioactive iodine was virtually the only adverse health effect that could be measured. As reported by the NRC, studies after the accident showed, that “As of 1996, except for thyroid cancer, there has been no confirmed increase in the rates of other cancers, including leukemia, among the…public, that have been attributed to releases from the accident.”

We also saw this thyroid radioiodine connection with our own Nevada atomic bomb testing program in the 1950s and early 1960s. The National Cancer Institute Study Estimating Thyroid Doses of I-131 Received by Americans From Nevada Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb Tests ‘worst case’ estimate is that fallout from nuclear weapons testing here likely generated from 10,000 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer. Each year, more than 12,000 Americans find out they have thyroid cancer, though from various causes. About 1000 here in the U.S. die from it annually.

Are you pointing to where your family lives?

National Cancer Institute Study Estimating Thyroid Doses of I-131
Received by Americans From Nevada Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb Tests

The NCI’s ‘worst case’ estimate is that fallout from nuclear weapons
testing likely generated from 10,000 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer!

Health physicist experts agree that the greatest health concerns, affecting the largest number of people far downwind, from a nuclear power plant accident or nuclear bomb explosion(s) anywhere in the world, will likely be from that release of radioiodine that is then carried downwind for hundreds and even thousands of miles. Inhaling radioiodine will be a concern downwind, though radioiodine contaminating the food supply and, in the public’s mind making it all suspect, could become the bigger concern. Milk will be atop the list with its short time from pasture to cow to milk on your table. More about radioiodine and very effective, simple and inexpensive protective measures below.

Unfortunately, the public is generally not well educated on nuclear threats and fallout, and stirred up by sensationalist media reports of potential food contamination, could unleash a widespread panic run on food stores and other supplies. Understanding that real potential for future panic would make it prudent for families to have calmly stocked up beforehand, as they should for any natural disaster or, failing that, promptly at the very first indication of any developing nuclear emergency while locally available inventories are still plentiful.

Fallout coming here from nuke use in Iran, Pakistan, India, Mid-East, Korea, Taiwan, China, Russia, Japan, etc.

The best documented case for concern in the USA of having overseas radioactive fallout raining down on us here, too, via prevailing westerly trade winds, with plenty of thyroid contaminating radioactive iodine, can be found in the Nuclear War Survival Skills book. This Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Facility of the U.S. Department of Energy, Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition, details the above and shows where a single, and very small, above ground Chinese nuclear test explosion (“a few hundred kilotons”) on December 28, 1966 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States. (See map ‘B’ above.)

Cresson H. Kearny, the author of the NWSS book, also states about this now declassified incident:

“It produced fallout that by January 1, 1967 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States. This one Chinese explosion produced about 15 million curies of iodine- 131 – roughly the same amount as the total release of iodine- 131 into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.”

“Fallout from the approximately 300 kiloton Chinese test explosion shown in Fig. 1 (Map ‘B’ above) caused milk from cows that fed on pastures near Oak Ridge, Tennessee and elsewhere to be contaminated with radioiodine, although not with enough to be hazardous to health.”

“However, this milk contamination (up to 900 picocuries of radioactive iodine per liter) and the measured dose rates from the gamma rays emitted from fallout particles deposited in different parts of the United States indicate that trans-Pacific fallout from even an overseas nuclear war in which “only” two or three hundred megatons would be exploded could result in tens of thousands of unprepared Americans suffering thyroid injury.”

“Perhaps the first nuclear war casualties in the United States will be caused by fallout from an overseas nuclear war in which our country is not a belligerent. As the number of nations with nuclear weapons increases – especially in the Middle East – this generally unrecognized danger to Americans will worsen.”


Find Anyone, Anywhere

“Trans-Pacific war fallout, carried to an America at peace by the prevailing west-to-east winds that blow around the world, could be several hundred times more dangerous to Americans than fallout from the worst possible overseas nuclear power reactor accident, and many times more dangerous than fallout from a very improbable U.S. nuclear power reactor accident as lethal as the disastrous Chernobyl accident was to Russians.”

The 280 page Nuclear War Survival Skills book can be viewed free on-line here as pdf and hard copies acquired here. (This book also covers and details family nuclear preparations for much more than just the threat of radioiodine fallout, too.)

BTW, The maximum measured radioactive contamination of milk in the United States by radioiodine from the Chernobyl disaster (Map ‘A’ above) was in milk produced by cows grazing on pasture in Washington: 560 picocuries per liter. Customary levels are normally 2-3 picocuries per liter.

Fortunately, there is a cheap and effective preventative method to protect yourself and family from radioactive iodine.

Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets, taken a half hour or more before exposure, and then for the next 7-10 days, saturates your thyroid gland with safe stable iodine where if you then later inhale or ingest radioactive iodine your body simply eliminates it. It provides nearly 100% protection from radioiodine and resulting thyroid cell damage and abnormalities, such as loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported about KI use during Chernobyl event that:

Poland, 300 miles from Chernobyl, also gave out KI to protect its population. Approximately 18 million doses were distributed, with follow-up studies showing no known thyroid cancer among KI recipients. But time has shown that people living in irradiated areas where KI was not available have developed thyroid cancer at epidemic levels, which is why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported “The data clearly demonstrate the risks of thyroid radiation…KI can be used [to] provide safe and effective protection against thyroid cancer caused by irradiation.”

But equally important to the question of KI is the fact that radiation releases are not “local” events. Researchers at the World Health Organization accurately located and counted the cancer victims from Chernobyl and were startled to find that “the increase in incidence [of thyroid cancer] has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site…significant doses from radioactive iodine can occur hundreds of kilometers from the site, beyond emergency planning zones.” Consequently, far more people than anticipated were affected by the radiation, which caused the United Nations to report in 2002 that “The number of people with thyroid cancer…has exceeded expectations. Over 11,000 cases have already been reported.”

See the Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ for more details on the health concerns of radioactive iodine, especially to our children, and for sources of thyroid protecting KI tablets, including homemade alternatives if no KI tablets available, and you’ll also see why about.com says that FAQ is the…

“In-depth, detailed site totally dedicated to the Potassium Iodide issue is THE central resource on the topic.”
How radioactive fallout affects different food sources…

The following for farmers and ranchers, from the old USDA county defense boards, should help dispel some of the potential panic. Old fashioned from the early 1960’s, but physics and tactics of radiation and fallout protection are timeless. This guidance assumed nuclear explosion(s) and heavy fallout originating right here in the USA. Fallout originating from far overseas would be many magnitudes less dangerous, but the following is still very informative regarding the threat to, and vulnerability of, different livestock & crops that we all rely upon in the food chain. References to radioiodine below have been highlighted in blue.

Fallout on farm

PROTECTING LIVESTOCK

How will fallout affect unprotected livestock, that is, animals in fields, postures, and other open areas?

Fallout may be dangerous to cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and other livestock as well as to human beings. Radioactive materials in fresh fallout can contaminate the immediate environment and give off rays that can penetrate deep into the body. This is the major source of danger for livestock. Animals can also suffer skin burns if fallout settles in the coat. Skin burns could produce considerable discomfort, but would not endanger the lives of the animals.

Animals are about as sensitive to radiation damage as human beings; to survive, animals need the same protection as human beings.

When livestock must graze on fallout-contaminated pasture, supplemental feeding from non-contaminated forage can materially reduce the daily dose of radioactive material the animals will eat. Stored or stacked hay, ensilage from either silo or trench, and stored grain are safe supplemental feeds when they are protected from fallout contamination. When no shelter is available and when the level of radiation is only moderate, or food resources are scant, growers should, if possible, supply supplemental feeding and limit the grazing time.

When meat and dairy animals eat contaminated feed, some radioactive elements are absorbed into their bodies. Thus, man’s food supply of animal products can become contaminated with radioactivity.

How will fallout affect sheltered livestock?

Livestock housed in barns and other farm buildings during fallout have a better chance of surviving effects of radiation than those that are not sheltered. A reasonably well-built shelter reduces intensity of external radiation and prevents fallout from settling on the animals’ bodies. It also prevents animals from eating contaminated feed.

What Is the best way to protect livestock from fallout?

Move them indoors as soon as possible. If you do not have adequate facilities to house all animals, put some of them near farm buildings or in a small dry lot. Under these conditions the amount of space per animal in a barn should be reduced to the point of overcrowding. The limiting factor is ventilation and not space. The advantage is that the animals tend to shield each other enough that more will survive under crowded conditions than under normal housing. Large, protected self-feeders and automatic live- stock waterers can supply uncontaminated feed and water.

Areas within movable fences, and other small fenced areas that have covered feeders or self-feeders, can provide emergency confinement for farm animals after early external radiation intensity has decreased through decay.

Empty trench silos can be converted to livestock shelters by constructing a roof over the trench and covering it with earth.

Once fallout occurs, you should not attempt to protect livestock unless local civil defense authorities tell you that you will be safe when doing so.

Get your dairy cattle under cover first.

farmfig3.jpg (76844 bytes)

What water can I give livestock after fallout?

Water from a covered well, tank, or cistern, or from a freely running spring, is best. River water or pond water is less safe, but if necessary, it could be used after fallout has occurred. In a few days it would be safe. If, however, it should rain during this time, livestock should not be permitted access to pond water for an additional few days.


UK NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH - Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011

Usually, fallout particles would settle promptly and soluble radioactive materials would diffuse in the water, reducing the contamination at the surface. If the water was constantly replenished from an uncontaminated source, radioactivity would be diluted rapidly.

To prevent contamination from fallout, do not add water to covered tanks unless the water is from a protected well or spring; first use the water originally present in the tanks.

Could I use water in an exposed pond?

Water in an exposed pond would be contaminated, but usually the level of contamination would decrease rapidly. Such water could be used for surface irrigation. It could also he used to wash off farm buildings and unsheltered livestock. Obtain drinking water for livestock from another source if possible.

What feed can I give livestock after fallout?

To protect feed adequately, cover it. Fallout is like dust or dirt; a cover will prevent it from coming in contact or mixing with the feed.

Grain stored in a permanent bin, hay in a barn, and ensilage in a covered silo are adequately protected. They can be used as soon as it is safe to get to them following fallout.

A haystack in an open field can be protected with a tarpaulin or similar covering.

If possible, give your livestock feed that does not contain fallout material. Fallout particles that settle on hay, silage, or a stack of feedbags will contaminate only the outer parts. You can remove the outer layers or bags, and use the inside feed that is unaffected.

You will be notified if local civil defense and agricultural authorities who measure concentrations of fallout consider the forage growing in your area is harmful. However, this advice might come too late in heavily contaminated areas. As a precautionary measure, house the livestock and do not let them graze.

You may have to give cows contaminated feed if no other feed is available. The milk from these cows should not be used by children, but when the cows are back on clean feed, the amount of radioactive material in their milk will progressively diminish.

farmfig4.jpg (48126 bytes)

What can I do with contaminated feed?

How long feed should be stored depends on the type and concentration of the radioactive materials. If you have an alternate supply, do not use contaminated feed until told by authorities that it is safe to do so; then be sure to follow the precautions they may recommend.

Should dairy cows receive special treatment?

Yes. Because radioactive materials can be transferred to milk, which will be a critical product during an emergency, make a special effort to protect cows from fallout. Remove milking cows from pasture and feed them stored rations during the period of fresh fallout and for several weeks after. In this way, you will prevent iodine 131 from occurring in the milk, or reduce it to insignificant levels.

Give cows preferred shelter and clean feed and water. If you can, milk them before fallout occurs; you may not be able to do so for several days afterward. If you have calves on the farm turn them in with the cows. This will help prevent mastitis and conserve all the feed for the cows. Reduce amounts of water and concentrated feed to maintenance levels.

Construction plans are available through State extension agricultural engineers for a combination dairy barn and family fallout shelter. Although construction of this type is costly, such a facility might be considered for the protection of highly valued breeding stock.

The plans are designed in accordance with milk production ordinances. They provide for (1) a year-round production Unit that requires minimum change for emergency use, (2) a built-in family fallout protection area that allows the operator to care for animals during a fallout emergency, (3) all stored feed that is manually accessible to be inside the barn, (4) stored hay and straw for use as shielding, (5) temporary housing, feed, and water for other livestock, (6) an auxiliary generator for assuring electric power, and (7) a water supply inside the barn.

What measures should be taken to protect poultry?

Measures for protecting poultry are the same as those recommended for other farm animals.

Poultry are somewhat more resistant to radiation than other farm animals. Since most poultry are raised under shelter and given feed that has been protected or stored, and since poultry can be grown rapidly, they are one of the more dependable sources of fresh foods of animal origin that may be available following a nuclear attack.

Hens that eat contaminated feed will produce eggs that contain some radioactive elements. Radioactivity in eggs decreases shortly after the hens are removed from the contaminated environment and given uncontaminated feed and water.

What animal food products are safe to market after fallout?

You will receive specific instructions from local civil defense authorities based on the amount of fallout received. Do not destroy any animal food products unless spoilage has made them inedible. Milk should be safe to use if it is from cows that are adequately sheltered and protected and are fed rations of stored and protected feed and water. Milk from a fallout area where cows are not adequately protected or fed stored feed should not be given to children until civil defense authorities approve. Milk contaminated with iodine 131 can be processed into butter, cheese, and powdered or canned milk, and stored for a period of time to allow the radioactivity to decay.

Food animals whose bodies have been exposed to external radiation can be used for food if they are slaughtered before the onset of signs of radiation sickness. Also, they can be used after they have recovered from the ensuing illness. The same rules that govern the slaughter of animals sick from any cause should be followed. Care must be taken to prevent edible parts of the carcass from being contaminated by radioactive materials contained on the hide and in the digestive system.

What do I do if animals die from fallout radiation?

Some of your animals may be affected so severely by radiation from fresh fallout that they will die in a few days or weeks after being exposed. Do not slaughter any of your livestock unless you are told to do so by local civil defense authorities or USDA county defense boards. Bury animals that die. These carcasses usually are not dangerous to surviving people or animals by the time it is safe to work outside.

Is it possible to decontaminate livestock and farm buildings that have been exposed to fallout?

If there is fallout on the animals’ skins, the radioactive material can be washed off with water. It is not necessary to use clean water sources for this purpose. Take care to avoid contamination runoff.

Civil defense authorities or USDA county defense boards may advise you on decontamination procedures for your farm buildings. In handling animals, wear coveralls, gloves, and boots to prevent contaminating yourself. Cleaning or disinfecting buildings will not destroy radioactivity. However, cleaning can be useful in moving radioactive materials to a place where radiation will be less harmful. In cleaning, be careful to avoid contaminating yourself.

PROTECTING LAND AND CROPS

What are the main consequences of heavy concentration of fallout on crop and pasture lands?

– Farm workers may not be able to manage and cultivate land safely for some time, because of radiation hazard.

– It may not be advisable to permit animals to graze, because of the danger of radiation.

– Fresh fallout would provide surface contamination on all plants, resulting in potential hazard to human beings and animals consuming them.

– Radiation from fallout deposited on the leaves or the ground may damage the crop.

How long would fallout affect cultivated and non-cultivated lands?

It would depend on the abundance and type of radioactive materials in a given area. In the event of nuclear attack, radioactive iodine would be the most critical single factor in the contamination of milk during the first few weeks. After the first 60 days, the principal hazard would arise from strontium 89 and strontium 90. Strontium 89, however, will have virtually disappeared 17 months after its formation.

Like other radioactive isotopes of fallout, strontium 90 falls on the surface of plants and can be consumed with foods and forage. Some of it is deposited directly on the soil or washed into it, remaining indefinitely, for all practical purposes, in the top several inches of uncultivated land. Because it is chemically similar to calcium, radioactive strontium would be absorbed by all plants. Plants growing in soils deficient in calcium would absorb more radioactive strontium than those growing in soils abundant in calcium, other conditions being equal.

Are there soil treatments for reducing the fallout hazard on land?

Yes, but soil treatments should be given only after responsible authorities have carefully evaluated the situation and declared a state of emergency. The most effective treatment could be costly, and suitable only for intensively used land.

Other methods involve changes in generally accepted farm practices. Some measures could be simply an improvement over local conditions and procedures. For example, liming of acid soils could reduce the uptake of radioactive strontium in crops grown on those soils.

USDA soil scientists in the USDA county defense boards will provide guidance to farmers in determining best utilization of their land following nuclear attack.

Any use of the land must wait until external radiation levels are low enough for persons to work safely outdoors.

Would fallout permanently affect pasture grass and forage crops?

If fallout is extremely light, the pasture would be usable immediately. It is difficult to set an exact external dose rate at which it would be safe to return the animals to pasture, but if the dose for the first week of stay did not exceed 25 roentgens all animals would survive and could be handled with safety.

If fallout is heavy, external radiation would prohibit use of the pasture. A heavy deposit of fallout would spread short-lived and long-lived radioactive particles on the pasture and forage crops. Radiation might cause visible injury to plants. Some plants might die.

Existing growths of alfalfa and other forage crops might not be usable because of radiation hazard. If a radiation survey should indicate that contamination level is high, existing growth should be removed as close to the ground as possible and discarded; succeeding growths should be used only after examination for radioactivity. If the soil is acid, a top-dressing of lime would help reduce uptake of radioactive strontium in succeeding growths.

Livestock could be allowed to graze on lightly contaminated pasture after a waiting period that varies from one to a few weeks, the length of time depending on the degree of contamination.

Once it is safe to work the land, a periodic check on pasture and produce in affected areas would provide the best safety guide to their use.

Would fallout affect my system of farming?

It could. Seriously contaminated land may need to lie fallow for as long as a season. After this, fallout may require a change to non-food crops or to food crops that do not absorb large amounts of radioactive materials from the soil. Alfalfa, clover, soybeans, and leafy vegetables have a greater tendency to absorb long-lived radioactive strontium than cereal grains, grasses, corn, potatoes, and fruits. Guidance on suggested crops to plant will come from USDA county defense boards.

Would fallout reduce economic productivity of crop and pasture lands?

Fallout might reduce such productivity in several ways: (1) Crop and soil management could be impeded because of danger from external radiation; (2) some crops might be killed by contamination; (3) other crops might become contaminated to a degree where they would be unmarketable; and (4) economic value of food grown on contaminated land might be less than that of other competitive crops.

Images of Radiation


What are the effects of fallout on growing vegetables?

Growing vegetables that are exposed to heavy fallout may become highly contaminated. Leaves, pods, and fruits that retain fallout material should be cleaned before being eaten. Washing is probably the most effective measure, just as it is the best way to clean garden foods that get dirty from any other cause. Radiation from heavy fallout may affect plant growth. Roots and tubers absorb little contamination from fallout before it is mixed with the soil. The normal cleaning or peeling of underground vegetables such as potatoes or carrots would be adequate for removing fallout.

What are the effects of fallout on fruits?

If fallout is heavy, ripe fruits may be lost because of the personal hazard involved in harvesting them. Fruits that do not have to be picked immediately can be saved. They should be washed before they are eaten.

Would fallout limit use of plants for human food?

It depends on the extent of radioactivity. Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, should not be eaten unless they are thoroughly washed, or are known to be free of hazardous amounts of radioactive materials.

What special precautions should be taken for workers in the fields?

You should remain indoors until danger from fallout has diminished and you have learned from local officials that it is all right to work outdoors.

EMERGENCY DEFENSE SERVICES

By order of the President, the Secretary of Agriculture has put into effect defense services to protect farmer; their families, their livestock, and their agricultural productivity in event of a national emergency. The wide scope of these services enables them to function at all levels, national, State, county, and farm.

County Defense Boards

In preparing for a national emergency, the farmer may obtain guidance and assistance from his USDA county defense board. More than 3,000 of these boards are operating throughout the Nation. The USDA county defense boards receive direction from USDA State defense boards.

A USDA county defense board is composed of key USDA representatives in the county. The county office manager of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service usually serves as chairman. Other board members may include representatives of the Cooperative Extension Service, the Farmers Home Administration, and the Soil Conservation Service. Representatives of the Forest Service, the Agricultural Research Service, and the Consumer and Marketing Service, where available, are also members of the board.

Each USDA county defense board is equipped to serve the farmer in many ways. In most counties, the board chairman is responsible for food production programs. He will see that guidance is available in emergency farming practices and in conserving farm equipment, fuel, and manpower; he also will help obtain essential services or material.

The Soil Conservation Service member of the board will advise and assist in the proper use of land and water; and the Farmers Home Administration member will help the farmer in credit problems that may arise. The county extension agent will provide education on survival practices and protective measures for the farmer, his family, and his livestock.

The board chairman, or one of the board members, will advise farmers regarding other programs of USDA agencies that are not represented on the board. This might include, for example, assistance in protection of livestock and crops against the spread of disease or rural fire defense. Generally, the board chairman is responsible for USDA programs relating to food processing, storage, and distribution.

USDA county defense boards will work closely with and support county authorities. Farmers can look to their local county civil defense officials as well as USDA county defense boards for guidance in national emergency programs.

Radiological Monitoring

Radiological monitoring is measurement of the levels of exposure by radiation present in nuclear fallout. Special instruments and people trained in their use are required for this work.

Monitoring services would be needed in the early period following a nuclear attack to determine intensity of radiation on the farm. If this intensity were high, monitoring services would be needed later to determine when farming activities should be resumed. Examples of this monitoring service are detection and measurement of radiological contamination of farmlands, harvestable crops, forest land, and water and protection and handling of farm animals.

State and local governments are responsible for establishing comprehensive radiological monitoring systems in inhabited and habitable areas to measure and report radiation intensities. This monitoring provides the basis for survival and recovery. USDA is directly responsible for certain specialized monitoring:

– At major meat and poultry inspection installations.

– Of forest lands, agricultural lands, and water.

– Of federally owned stored food.

One or more USDA monitoring stations are established in each county in the United States. They provide capability to perform monitoring assigned to USDA, and they will also supply part of the radiological information needed for planning and directing local survival and recovery operations.

Office of Civil Defense guidance and the USDA Radiological Monitoring Handbook provide details for the necessary coordinated effort at the county level. Simply stated, county civil defense and the USDA county defense boards are responsible for joint planning and post attack advice to the farm population on precautions to take to minimize radiation exposures associated with farm work; county civil defense is responsible for most of the monitoring, reporting, and analysis of the data; and the USDA county defense board applies USDA guidance adjusted to local conditions in recommending appropriate:

– Care or disposition of livestock.

– Use of agricultural lands and water.

– Use or disposition of agricultural commodities.

If you have a question about the detection of harmful radiation, you should contact your local civil defense official or the chairman of your USDA county defense board.

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, the federal government does not have large stocks of emergency KI tablets, nor is it likely what they do have can be gotten where it’s needed and then to those who need it… in-time. Also, they no longer support nuclear Civil Defense training of the public, the USDA county defense boards, or county level radiation monitoring networks and fallout shelters*, as they once did during the heights of the Cold War, and thus American families are largely on their own today to find this important guidance and make their own preparations.

For this reason, we’ve produced both our myth-busting expose…

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at http://www.ki4u.com/goodnews.htm

…and our popular & essential family guide for…

What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent! at http://www.ki4u.com/guide.htm

Pass copies of them, along with this ‘When An ill Wind Blows From Afar!’ guide to friends, neighbors, relatives, fellow workers, churches and community organizations with a brief note attached saying simply: “We hope/pray we never need this, but just-in-case, keep it handy!” Few nowadays will find that approach alarmist and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many are truly grateful.

Everyone should also forward copies of them to their local, state and federal elected representatives, as well as your own communities first-responders and local media, all to help spread this good news that’s liberating fellow American families from their paralyzing and potentially fatal myths of nuclear un-survivability!

* There is one county in America that has, on their own, re-instituted their public fallout shelters and local radiation monitoring network. Madison County – Huntsville, Alabama, home of our nations rocket scientists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. See more about their efforts here.

Shane Connor is the CEO of www.ki4u.com
Consultants and developers of Civil Defense solutions to Government, NPO’s, and Individual Families.

POTASSIUM IODIDE – PROTECTION IN AN UNCERTAIN TIME

Q: Quick Summary of FAQ.

A: Documentation and details of the following (and much more) are below in the FAQ:

* Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine) is a major radioisotope constituent of both nuclear power plant accidents and nuclear bomb explosions and can travel hundreds of miles on the winds. Thyroid cancer attributable to Chernobyl “…has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site.” The maximum measured radioactive contamination of milk in the United States by radioiodine from the Chernobyl disaster was in milk produced by cows grazing on pasture in Washington: 560 picocuries per liter. Customary levels are normally 2-3 picocuries per liter.

* Even very small amounts of inhaled or ingested radioiodine can do grave damage as it will always concentrate, and be retained, in the small space of the thyroid gland. Eventually giving such a large radiation dose to thyroid cells there that abnormalities are likely to result, such as loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer. (Each year 12,000 Americans discover they have thyroid cancer, though from various assorted causes, and about 1000 die from it.)

* Chernobyl has shown, and continues to reveal, that the greatest danger from radioiodine is to the tiny thyroid glands of children. Researchers have found that in certain parts of Belarus, for example, 36.4 per cent of children, who were under the age of four at the time of the accident, can expect to develop thyroid cancer.

* Health experts now estimate that the greatest health concerns affecting the largest number of people from a nuclear accident, or nuclear bomb explosion(s) anywhere in the world, will likely be from the release of radioiodine that is then carried downwind for hundreds of miles. While there will also be many other dangerous radioisotopes released along with radioiodine, if they are inhaled or ingested they are normally dispersed throughout a body and pose less of a risk than if they were to be concentrated into one small specific area of the body, like radioiodine is in the thyroid gland. So, as a plume or cloud of radioactive isotopes disperses with the wind its danger also diminshes, but much less quickly so for radioiodine because whatever little there is left, that’s inhaled or ingested, will always then be concentrated into that small space of the thyroid gland.

* From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported that:

Chernobyl also demonstrated that the need to protect the thyroid from radiation was greater than expected. Within ten years of the accident, it became clear that thyroid damage caused by released radioactive iodine was virtually the only adverse health effect that could be measured. As reported by the NRC, studies after the accident showed, that “As of 1996, except for thyroid cancer, there has been no confirmed increase in the rates of other cancers, including leukemia, among the…public, that have been attributed to releases from the accident.”

Researchers at the World Health Organization accurately located and counted the cancer victims from Chernobyl and were startled to find that “the increase in incidence [of thyroid cancer] has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site…significant doses from radioactive iodine can occur hundreds of kilometers from the site, beyond emergency planning zones.” Consequently, far more people than anticipated were affected by the radiation, which caused the United Nations to report in 2002 that “The number of people with thyroid cancer…has exceeded expectations. Over 11,000 cases have already been reported.”

* The good news is that taking either Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) before exposure will saturate (fill up) a persons thyroid gland with safe stable iodine to where there is no room for later uptake of radioactive iodine. Once the thyroid is saturated, then any additional iodine (radioactive or stable) that is later inhaled or ingested is quickly eliminated via the kidneys.

* From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide we see reported about KI use during Chernobyl event that:

Poland, 300 miles from Chernobyl, also gave out KI to protect its population. Approximately 18 million doses were distributed, with follow-up studies showing no known thyroid cancer among KI recipients. But time has shown that people living in irradiated areas where KI was not available have developed thyroid cancer at epidemic levels, which is why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported “The data clearly demonstrate the risks of thyroid radiation…KI can be used [to] provide safe and effective protection against thyroid cancer caused by irradiation.”

* The bad news is that after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl all available KI and KIO3 supplies disappeared for months, almost overnight! The KI and KIO3 market is very thin and current limited inventory will be quickly depleted in any nuclear emergency occuring anywhere in the world. (At www.ki4u.com we expect to be largely ‘out of business’ within days of any nuclear emergency simply because we’ll be totally sold-out with no illusions of getting re-supplied again any time soon!)

* Potassium Iodide (KI) and/or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) has already been stockpiled by most developed countries for future nuclear emergencies, they figured it out after Chernobyl, but here in the USA they’ve only just begun. (We sold 300,000 doses to HHS Office of Emergency Prepardness after 9/11, which represented half of our nations stockpile then.) However, very limited quantities will be available for individual purchase in the USA by the public after an ‘event’. (Potassium Iodide (KI) has long been recognized and approved by the FDA for sale for this purpose without a prescription. Unfortunately, it is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that’s to be found on too few counters here in the USA!)

* KI is currently available on the internet www.ki4u.com.

* P.S.- KI or KIO3 would likely not be needed for the so-called ‘Dirty Bomb’ or RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device). Radioactive Iodine is only produced in quantity by a fission or fusion weapon detonation or in a Nuclear Power Plant as a byproduct of that process. There is some small medical radioactive iodine, but it’s impractical as a bomb component with its short half-life. An RDD simply spreads around existing radioactive material and it’s not very likely to have been composed of the relatively short half-life radioactive iodine. We’d more likely see used in an RDD a commercially abundant, and more easily obtained, isotope like Cobalt-60, Cesium-137 or uranium fuel rods, etc.

* See and read our latest report, detailing thyroid protection with KI from overseas fallout, here…
When An ill Wind Blows From Afar!

Q: What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?

A: Potassium Iodide (chemical name ‘KI’) is much more familiar to most than they might first expect. It is the ingredient added to your table salt to make it iodized salt.

Potassium Iodide (KI) is approximately 76.5% iodine.

For purposes of radiation protection the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) states in COMSECY-98-016 – FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

“In 1978, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found KI “safe and effective” for use in radiological emergencies and approved its over-the-counter sale.”

Most recently (November, 2001) the FDA states in Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies:

“FDA maintains that KI is a safe and effective means by which to prevent radioiodine uptake by the thyroid gland, under certain specified conditions of use, and thereby obviate the risk of thyroid cancer in the event of a radiation emergency.”

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: How Does Potassium Iodide (KI) Pill Provide Anti-Radiation Protection?

A: Going back to June 23, 1966, the New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 274 on Page 1442 states:

“The thyroid gland is especially vulnerable to atomic injury since radioactive isotopes of iodine are a major component of fallout.”

Cresson H. Kearny, the author of Nuclear War Survival Skills, Original Edition Published September, 1979, by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition) states on page 111:

“There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike.

However, a salt of the elements potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result. The thyroid gland readily absorbs both non-radioactive and radioactive iodine, and normally it retains much of this element in either or both forms.

When ordinary, non-radioactive iodine is made available in the blood for absorption by the thyroid gland before any radioactive iodine is made available, the gland will absorb and retain so much that it becomes saturated with non-radioactive iodine. When saturated, the thyroid can absorb only about l% as much additional iodine, including radioactive forms that later may become available in the blood: then it is said to be blocked. (Excess iodine in the blood is rapidly eliminated by the action of the kidneys.)”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stated July 1, 1998 in USE OF POTASSIUM IODIDE IN EMERGENCY RESPONSE:

“Potassium iodide, if taken in time, blocks the thyroid gland’s uptake of radioactive iodine and thus could help prevent thyroid cancers and other diseases that might otherwise be caused by exposure to airborne radioactive iodine that could be dispersed in a nuclear accident.”

Federal Register. Vol. 43 Friday, December 15, 1978, states in Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in a Radiation Emergency:

“Almost complete (greater than 90%) blocking of peak radioactive iodine uptake by the thyroid gland can be obtained by the oral administration of … iodide …”

National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. NCRP Report NO. 55. Protection of the Thyroid Gland in the Event of Releases of Radioiodine. August, 1979, Page 32:

“A major protective action to be considered after a serious accident at a nuclear power facility involving the release of radioiodine is the use of stable iodide as a thyroid blocking agent to prevent thyroid uptake of radioiodines.”

The recently updated (1999) World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states:

“Stable iodine administered before, or promptly after, intake of radioactive iodine can block or reduce the accumulation of radioactive iodine in the thyroid.”

And, finally, the recently (November, 2001) released FDA document Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

“The effectiveness of KI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established (Il’in LA, et al., 1972) as are the doses necessary for blocking uptake. As such, it is reasonable to conclude that KI will likewise be effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines.”

Q: Is this the Magic Anti-Radiation Protection Pill?

A: Sorry, but there is no magic pill or medicine that will protect you from all radiation sources. In fact, as already stated above here:

“There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike.”

Also, the recently (November, 2001) released FDA document Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

“KI provides protection only for the thyroid from radioiodines. It has no impact on the uptake by the body of other radioactive materials and provides no protection against external irradiation of any kind. FDA emphasizes that the use of KI should be as an adjunct to evacuation (itself not always feasible), sheltering, and control of foodstuffs.”

Potassium Iodide (and Potassium Iodate, KIO3) will provide a very high level of thyroid protection, taken in time, for the specific radio-isotopes of iodine, which is expected by many to cause the majority of health concerns downwind from a nuclear emergency. (And, is the reason most all developed countries have stockpiled it.)

However, there are numerous other, and very dangerous, radioactive noble gases and/or radioactive fallouts that can be associated with nuclear emergencies. You are still exposed to inhale, ingest, or be radiated externally from any number of dangerous non-radioiodine sources.

If you are ever directed to evacuate in a nuclear emergency, do so immediately, regardless of whether you have taken Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3, or not.

Note: KI or KIO3 would likely not be needed for the so-called “Dirty Bomb” or RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device). Radioactive Iodine is only produced by a fission or fusion weapon detonation or in a Nuclear Power Plant as a byproduct of that process. An RDD simply spreads around existing radioactive material and it’s not very likely to have been composed of the relatively short half-life radioactive iodine. We’d more likely see used in an RDD a commercially abundant, and more easily obtained, isotope like Cobalt-60, Cesium-137 or uranium fuel rods, etc.

Q: Radioactive Iodine: Bad News / Good News!?!

A: The “bad news” first:

#1 – Radioactive iodine (predominantly iodine-131) is a major radioisotope constituent in nuclear power plants.

#2 – There are 103 currently active commercial nuclear reactors and 39 operating nonpower reactors in the United States. (434 worldwide as of 1998.) Additionlly, there are numerous other nuclear processing and storage facilities worldwide with the potential for accidents, too.

The, September 29, 1999, Tokaimura, Japan nuclear accident took place, not in a nuclear reactor power plant, but in an uranium processing plant.
Tokaimura Japan Radioactive iodine-131 gases were confirmed to have been released and was the primary reason for 320,000 Japanese confined to their homes with their windows shut. It was also why you may have seen photos of Japanese authorities examining scores of children with geiger counters pressed against their necks.

#3 – Radioactive iodine (predominantly iodine-131) is also a major constituent of detonated nuclear weapons.

#4 – Radioactive iodine can not only travel hundreds of miles on the winds, but also still remain health threatening even as other radioisotopes are becoming dispersed and diluted along with it and their likelyhood of causing harm diminishes. It is often overlooked that while there will also be many other dangerous radioisotopes released along with radioiodine, if they are inhaled or ingested they are normally dispersed throughout a body and pose less of a risk than if they were to be concentrated into one small specific area of the body, like radioiodine is in the thyroid gland. As a plume or cloud of radioactive isotopes disperses with the wind its danger also diminshes, but always much less quickly so for radioiodine because whatever little there is that’s inhaled will always be concentrated into that small space of the thyroid gland.

NUREG-1633 points out an increase in thyroid cancer caused by radioiodine from Chernobyl…

“…was detected in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Notably, this increase, seen in areas more than 150 miles (300 km) from the site, continues to this day and primarily affects children who were 0-14 years old at the time of the accident…the vast majority of the thyroid cancers were diagnosed among those living more than 50 km (31 miles) from the site.” chernobyl wind drift,Potassium Iodide Radiation Protection FAQ & iodine pills sources.

The recently updated (1999) World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states in its abstract regarding thyroid cancer caused by the Chernobyl disaster:

“This increase in incidence has been documented up to 500 km from the accident site.”

…and therefore…

“…that stockpiling (KI or KIO3) is warranted, when feasible, over much wider areas than normally encompassed by emergency planning zones, and that the opportunity for voluntary purchase be part of national plans.”

Many are coming to see now that relying on the current U.S. policy of public safety contingency plans focused on only protecting the populations inside a small “Emergency Planning Zone” (EPZ) of 5 to 10 miles around U.S. nuclear power plants is “overly optimistic”, to put it very mildly.

Undoubtably, US nuclear power plants are much better designed, operated, and safer than many others elsewhere in the world, and certainly many magnitudes safer than the Chernobyl operation ever was. But, that doesn’t mean much anymore when we aren’t just concerned with just accidents, but now sabotage or terrorist attacks, too.

Without anyone debating here how likely anything is to ever go wrong, it must still be accepted by all that the logic of even having any EPZ’s established is to effectively provide for the public safety in that rarest of events if/when anything did go wrong. If that’s why we’ve even bothered with having any EPZ’s at all, then shouldn’t they be effective ones, if/when it’s ever really needed to protect the public downwind? Reality is, the wind just won’t know to stop blowing when it comes up against the currently tiny 5-10-50 mile EPZ ‘barriers’. (Find your upwind nuclear power plants and daily updated plant status reports here.)

Also, read the fascinating Three Mile Island: The Rest of the Story… (Why current EPZ’s are much too small.)

The wind, of course, doesn’t respect state boundaries either as our own Nevada atomic bomb testing program in the 1950s and early 1960s made it possible that “…everyone living in the contiguous 48 states was exposed to low levels of 131Iodine (radioiodine) for several months following each nuclear bomb test.” (Radiation Exposure and Thyroid Cancer – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) Even more importantly; “The report also estimates that children aged three to five years probably received doses of radiation three to seven times higher than average during the 90 nuclear tests that were carried out.”

Remember, it’s always the children who are at the highest risk of injury from radioactive iodine and eventually developing thyroid cancer from that exposure. Each year, more than 12,000 Americans find out they have thyroid cancer, though from various causes. About 1000 here in the U.S. die from it yearly.

Are you pointing to where your family lives?

National Cancer Institute Study Estimating Thyroid Doses of I-131
Received by Americans From Nevada Atmospheric Nuclear Bomb Tests

The NCI’s ‘worst case’ estimate is that fallout from nuclear weapons
testing likely generated from 10,000 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer!

Physicians for Social Responsibility: Critique of NCI Report

And, of course, the wind also doesn’t respect international boundaries either, nor even continents and oceans, as fallout from a single above ground Chinese nuclear test explosion (“a few hundred kilotons”) on December 28, 1966 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States.

From Cresson H. Kearny’s Nuclear War Survival Skills:

“It produced fallout that by January 1, 1967 resulted in the fallout cloud covering most of the United States. This one Chinese explosion produced about 15 million curies of iodine- 131 – roughly the same amount as the total release of iodine- 131 into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.”

“Fallout from the approximately 300 kiloton Chinese test explosion shown in Fig. 1 caused milk from cows that fed on pastures near Oak Ridge, Tennessee and elsewhere to be contaminated with radioiodine, although not with enough to be hazardous to health. However, this milk contamination (up to 900 picocuries of radioactive iodine per liter) and the measured dose rates from the gamma rays emitted from fallout particles deposited in different parts of the United States indicate that trans-Pacific fallout from even an overseas nuclear war in which “only” two or three hundred megatons would be exploded could result in tens of thousands of unprepared Americans suffering thyroid injury.” (Declassified Fallout Map and full story text in Nuclear War Survival Skills at Trans-Pacific Fallout)

Getting Back To The Future…

Commenting on the world health effects a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would create, for example, Dr. Henry Kendall of the Union of Concerned Scientists said in October of 1999: “It would be very similar to Cherynobl. But it could be on a substantially larger scale.”

Accordingly, you also have to assess the probable threat from nuclear war, either directed at the U.S. or fallout contamination originating from elsewhere in the world. Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Iran, Israel, etc., where any of them are exchanging nuclear blasts with any of their neighbors, could have the prevailing west-to-east trade winds carrying the resultant radioactive fallout to our shores, too.

You’ll have to decide whether that’s an impossible scenario in your families lifetime, or not. And, then prepare accordingly.

#5 – Radioactive iodine (radioiodine) persists in the environment for a month or more.

#6 – Most importantly, ingested or inhaled radioactive iodine (radioiodine) persists in the body and concentrates in the thyroid. (Excess iodine in the blood, either radioiodine or stable iodine, is quickly eliminated from the body, but only after the thyroid has become saturated with one or the other type of iodine.) Even very small amounts of radioactive iodine, because it is retained in the small space of the thyroid, eventually will give such a large radiation dose to thyroid cells there that abnormalities are likely to result. These would include loss of thyroid function, nodules in the thyroid, or thyroid cancer. The most likely to see the worst effects, in later life, are the youngest children. (Many of the Chernobyl thyroid cancers appearing in the former Soviet Union among young people today were just children less than five years old at the time of the accident. Experts now contend that as high as 40% of the nodules are cancerous with 5 to 10 percent of the cancers fatal.)

Every year researchers are discovering more from Chernobyl as its legacy continues to reveal itself. According to the World Health Organization, that disaster will cause 50,000 new cases of thyroid cancer among young people living in the areas most affected by the nuclear disaster. Researchers have also found that in certain parts of Belarus, for example, 36.4 per cent of children, who were under the age of four at the time of the accident, can expect to develop thyroid cancer.

For all of the above reasons, health experts estimate that the greatest health concerns affecting the largest number of people from a nuclear accident, or nuclear bomb explosion(s) anywhere in the world, will likely be from the release of radioactive iodine then carried downwind.

However, there really is some Good News amongst all this!

This deadly cancer agent, especially to our children, is easily, cheaply, and effectively blocked!

As mentioned above;

“…a salt of the elements potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result.”
Potassium Iodide Radiation Protection FAQ & iodine pills sources.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) states in COMSECY-98-016 – FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

The Chernobyl accident demonstrated that thyroid cancer can indeed be a major result of a large reactor accident. Moreover, although the Food and Drug Administration declared KI “safe and effective” as long ago as 1978, the drug had never been deployed on a large scale until Chernobyl. The experience of Polish health authorities during the accident has provided confirmation that large scale deployment of KI is safe.

Additionally, it goes on to say:

The revised policy also reflects wide scale change in international practice following the Chernobyl disaster, specifically 1989 World Health Organization recommendations (updated in 1995) and 1996 and 1997 International Atomic Energy Agency standards and guidance, which have led to use of KI as a supplementary protective measure in much of Europe, as well as in Canada and Japan.

Also, the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

“Thus, the studies following the Chernobyl accident support the etiologic role of relatively small doses of radioiodine in the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer among exposed children. Furthermore, it appears that the increased risk occurs with a relatively short latency. Finally, the Polish experience supports the use of KI as a safe and effective means by which to protect against thyroid cancer caused by internal thyroid irradiation from inhalation of contaminated air or ingestion of contaminated food and drink when exposure cannot be prevented by evacuation, sheltering, or food and milk control.”

What they learned was that children, with their thyroid glands being the most sensitive to radioactive iodine uptake, have today grown up to be the most frequent victims of thyroid cancers there. The children in Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, where potassium iodide (KI) was not widely distributed, are now experiencing high levels of thyroid cancer. However, in Poland, where over 18 million doses of Potassium Iodide (KI) were administered, and to 97 percent of the children, there has been no similar increase in thyroid cancer. Also, key to Poland’s radioiodine protective strategy, was their aggressive interdiction of radioiodine contaminated food stuffs and milk.

Bottom Line: For all its serious potential for widespread damage to populations (and especially among our youngest), far downwind from the site of a nuclear event, radioiodine health concerns can be largely neutralized by inexpensive thyroid blocking via prompt prophylactic use of potassium iodide (KI). This, in addition to successful evacuation, when indicated, and vigilance that food and milk are not also radioiodine contaminated, has proven itself the best combination strategy.

Potassium iodide (iodine) anti radiation protection pills, tablets, medicine. FAQ with iodine sources.

Click to Go to Top of Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ & iodine pills sources.

Q: Dosage and Safety Regarding Potassium Iodide (KI) Usage?

A: In April of 1982 the Bureau of Radiological Health and Bureau of Drugs, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services released “FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS, Potassium Iodide As A Thyroid-Blocking Agent In A Radiation Emergency: Recommendations On Use”. These lengthy recommendations are summarized in the FDA’s “mandated patient product insert”. (See a complete copy below.) This insert is packed with every bottle of non-prescription Potassium Iodide (KI) tablets sold. However, the lengthy FDA recommendations contain many facts not mentioned in this required insert, including the following:

“Based on the FDA adverse reaction reports and an estimated 48 x 106 [48 million] 300-mg doses of potassium iodide administered each year [in the United States], the NCRP [National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements] estimated an adverse reaction rate of from 1 in a million to 1 in 10 million doses.”

(It should be pointed out that this extremely low adverse reaction rate is for doses over twice as large as the 130-mg prophylactic dose.)

NOTE: The following ‘old’ FDA Recommendations were recently revised, but we share them here for any that wish to compare them with the current recommendations. See details and link to the newer (November, 2001) FDA guidelines immediately below this grey box.

FDA PATIENT INFORMATION USE OF 130-MG SCORED TABLETS OF POTASSIUM IODIDE FOR THYROID BLOCKING

(Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.)

(Pronounced poe-TASS-e-um EYE-oh-dyed)

(Abbreviated KI)

TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE ONLY WHEN PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TELL YOU. IN A RADIATION EMERGENCY, RADIOACTIVE IODINE COULD BE RELEASED INTO THE AIR. POTASSIUM IODIDE (A FORM OF IODINE) CAN HELP PROTECT YOU.

IF YOU ARE TOLD TO TAKE THIS MEDICINE, TAKE IT ONE TIME EVERY 24 HOURS. DO NOT TAKE IT MORE OFTEN. MORE WILL NOT HELP YOU AND MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF SIDE EFFECTS. DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO IODINE (SEE SIDE EFFECTS BELOW).

INDICATIONS

THYROID BLOCKING IN A RADIATION EMERGENCY ONLY

DIRECTIONS FOR USE

Use only as directed by State or local public health authorities in the event of a radiation emergency.

DOSE

ADULTS AND CHILDREN ONE YEAR OF AGE OR

OLDER: One (1) tablet once a day. Crush for small children.

BABIES UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE: One-half (1/2) tablet once a day. Crush first.

DOSAGE: Take for 10 days unless directed otherwise by State or local public health authorities.

Store at controlled room temperature between 15 and 30C (59 degrees to 86 degrees F). Keep bottle tightly closed and protect from light.

WARNING

POTASSIUM IODIDE SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PEOPLE ALLERGIC TO IODIDE. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of overdose or allergic reaction, contact a physician or public health authority.

DESCRIPTION

Each (company trade name) Tablet contains 130 mg. of potassium iodide.

HOW POTASSIUM IODIDE WORKS

Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid gland work right. Most people get the iodine they need from foods like iodized salt or fish. The thyroid can “store” or hold only a certain amount of iodine.

In a radiation emergency, radioactive iodine may be released in the air. This material may be breathed or swallowed. It may enter the thyroid gland and damage it. The damage would probably not show itself for years. Children are most likely to have thyroid damage.

If you take potassium iodide, it will fill up your thyroid gland. This reduces the chance that harmful radioactive iodine will enter the thyroid gland.

WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE

The only people who should not take potassium iodide are people who know they are allergic to iodide. You may take potassium iodide even if you are taking medicines for a thyroid problem (for example, a thyroid hormone or anti-thyroid drug). Pregnant and nursing women and babies and children may also take this drug.

HOW AND WHEN TO TAKE POTASSIUM IODIDE

Potassium iodide should be taken as soon as possible after public health officials tell you. You should take one dose every 24 hours. More will not help you because the thyroid can “hold” only limited amounts of iodine. Larger doses will increase the risk of side effects. You will probably be told not to take the drug for more than 10 days.

SIDE EFFECTS

Usually, side effects of potassium iodide happen when people take higher doses for a long time. You should be careful not to take more than the recommended dose or take it for longer than you are told. Side effects are unlikely because of the low dose and the short time you will be taking the drug.

Possible side effects include skin rashes, swelling of the salivary glands, and “iodism” (metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, symptoms of a head cold, and sometimes stomach upset and diarrhea).

A few people have an allergic reaction with more serious symptoms. These could be fever and joint pains, or swelling of parts of the face and body and at times severe shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention.

Taking iodide may rarely cause overactivity of the thyroid gland, underactivity of the thyroid gland, or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).

WHAT TO DO IF SIDE EFFECTS OCCUR

If the side effects are severe or if you have an allergic reaction, stop taking potassium iodide. Then, if possible, call a doctor or public health authority for instructions.

HOW SUPPLIED

Tablets (Potassium Iodide Tablets, U.S.P.): bottles of [number of tablets in a bottle] tablets

( ). Each white, round, scored tablet contains 130 mg. potassium iodide.

The FDA new (November, 2001) guidance document, that brings it more in-line with the recent World Health Organization recommendations below, is titled; “Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies”.

It can be seen here fda.htm. That document represents the Food and Drug Administration’s current thinking on this topic.

In regards to the differences between the World Health Organization dosing recommendations and these new FDA recommendations, this FDA document states:

These FDA recommendations differ from those put forward in the World Health Organization (WHO) 1999 guidelines for iodine prophylaxis in two ways. WHO recommends a 130-mg dose of KI for adults and adolescents (over 12 years). For the sake of logistical simplicity in the dispensing and administration of KI to children, FDA recommends a 65-mg dose as standard for all school-age children while allowing for the adult dose (130 mg, 2 X 65 mg tablets) in adolescents approaching adult size. The other difference lies in the threshold for predicted exposure of those up to 18 years of age and of pregnant or lactating women that should trigger KI prophylaxis. WHO recommends a threshold of 1 cGy for these two groups. As stated earlier, FDA has concluded from the Chernobyl data that the most reliable evidence supports a significant increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer at exposures of 5 cGy or greater.

*Adolescents approaching adult size (> 70 kg) should receive the full adult dose (130 mg).

The World Health Organization recent recommendations has a step increase in doses by age (chart below) and also states the potential benefit diminishes with older adults. In fact, if only a limited number of Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3 tablets are available, these should always be given to infants, children and young adults first as they are the most vulnerable and also the risk of thyroid cancer fully developing begins to drop off with adults much over 40 years of age.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents states:

“In general, the potential benefit of iodine prophylaxis will be greater in the young, firstly because the small size of the thyroid means that a higher radiation dose is accumulated per unit intake of radioactive iodine. Secondly, the thyroid of the fetus, neonate and young infant has a higher yearly thyroid cancer risk per unit dose than the thyroid of an adult and, thirdly, the young will have a longer time span for the expression of the increased cancer risk.”

Also, the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies determined from the Chernobyl data that:

“They suggest that the risk of thyroid cancer is inversely related to age, and that, especially in young children, it may accrue at very low levels of radioiodine exposure.” and also that “…adults over 40 need take KI only in the case of a projected large internal radiation dose to the thyroid (>500 cGy) to prevent hypothyroidism.”

Dosing chart from the recently updated 1999 World Health Organization:
Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis following Nuclear Accidents

Age Group Mass of iodine
mg Mass of KI
mg Mass of KIO3
mg Fraction of
100 mg tablet
Adults and adolescents
(over 12 years) 100 130 170 1
Children
(3-12 years) 50 65 85 1/2
Infants
(1 month to 3 years) 25 32 42 1/4
Neonates
(birth to 1 month) 12.5 16 21 1/8

To help make sense of any possible dosing confusion and radiation level thresholds, it should be remembered first that you should not commence dosing until so directed by a doctor or public health officials. Also, the biggest difference in dosage and ages, between the two recommendations, is that WHO suggests an adult dose (130mg KI) for everyone over 12 where the FDA suggests an adult dose for everyone over 18, unless the adolescent weighs 70kg (154 lbs) or more. And, again, the primary reason for this divergence from the WHO recommendations is that, according to the FDA: For the sake of logistical simplicity in the dispensing and administration of KI to children, FDA recommends a 65-mg dose as standard for all school-age children while allowing for the adult dose (130 mg, 2 X 65 mg tablets) in adolescents approaching adult size.

At the WHO dosages recommended above, an adverse reaction rate of less than 1 in 10 million children and less than 1 in 1 million adults is expected. However, Potassium Iodide should not be used by people allergic to iodine. According to the WHO, contraindications for use of potassium iodide are: (1) past or present thyroid disease (e.g., active hyperthyroidism), (2) known iodine hypersensitivity, (3) dermatitis herpetiformis, and (4) hypocomplementaemic vasculitis.

You should also check with your doctor before taking this medication if you have myotonia or hyperkalemia congenita or tuberculosis or kidney disease. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/ for more information.

Pregnant women should consult a physician prior to continuing dosages for more than two days. According to the WHO, “No negative consequences are to be expected after one or two doses of stable iodine. However, especially in areas with dietary iodine deficiency, prolonged dosage could lead to maternal and/ or fetal thyroid blockage, with possible consequences for fetal development. … Pregnant women with active hyperthyroidism must not take stable iodine because of the risk of fetal thyroid blockage.”

For pregant or nursing women, and for cautions to the proper dosing of neonates, also read the appropriate sections here in the newly released (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies.

The WHO also states, and the FDA concurs, “Side effects in other parts of the body, such as gastrointestinal effects or hypersensitivity reactions, may occur but are generally mild and can be considered of minor importance.”

One additional recommendation we urge at KI4U, now before any nuclear emergencies, is simply to check with your doctor and inquire whether there is any possibility of any adverse reactions if you, or your children, had to begin taking KI or KIO3. If you are concerned enough to be reading this and considering acquiring KI or KIO3 for your family, then checking with your doctor first should be a natural step in your prudent preparations, too.

Besides contraindications with pre-exisiting medical conditions, this is also important if you (or they) are taking any regular medications. Especially, though not limited to, Spironolactone (like Aldactone), Triamterene (Dyrenium), Amiloride (Midamor), or medicines for an overactive thyroid, or if you are on medications with any lithium-based or potassium-sparing diuretics.

Better to have gotten that assurance from your physician now, before any emergencies, rather than risk hesitating taking it later (or possibly suffering an adverse reaction) because you didn’t ask first. Again, that’s just a part of your prudent preparations, where anyone else being issued Potassium Iodide (KI) during an emergency probably won’t have that opportunity to find out first!

We have a fair number of medical doctors (often initially sent by their patients), pharmacists, health physicists, and medical schools refer to this FAQ. We are very grateful for the medical communities generous suggestions, and additional related research we’ve received or have been pointed to. We invite any/all input from the medical community to better fine-tune or expand the research documented at the Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Pill FAQ. -Shane Connor.

Q: Is Iodized Salt, Tincture of Iodine, Water Purification Tabs, or other Iodine Sources Effective?

A: Any dietary iodine sources providing for a normal daily sufficient regimen of iodine intake (about 150 micrograms/day in adults) is preferred in that it will then take less stable iodine (and time) to saturate your thyroid in a nuclear emergency and there will be less room there for radioactive iodine before you do. An iodine sufficient diet will also greatly increase the effectiveness of KI or KIO3, but primarily only in the following limited context and not as a substitute for KI or KIO3:

An iodine sufficient diet is most beneficial, compared to an insufficient iodine diet, when the initial administration of KI had been unavoidably delayed and the KI could only be first taken after exposure to radioiodine.

From the Health Physics Journal, Volume 78 No. 6, June 2000, “EFFECTS OF TIME OF ADMINISTRATION AND DIETARY IODINE LEVELS ON POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI) BLOCKADE OF THYROID IRRADIATION BY 131-I FROM RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT” Pat B. Zanzonico and David V. Becker (Read abstract by searching title at Health Physics Journal):

“The 131-I thyroid absorbed dose is two-fold greater with insufficient levels of dietary iodine, 2,900 cGy/37 MBq, than with sufficient levels of dietary iodine, 1,500 cGy/37 MBq. When KI is administered 48 h or less before 131-I intake, the thyroid absorbed doses (in cGy/37 MBq) are comparably low with both sufficient and insufficient dietary iodine levels. When KI is administered after 131-I intake, however, the protective effect of KI is less and decreases more rapidly with insufficient than with sufficient dietary iodine. For example, KI administration 2 and 8 h after 131-I intake yields protective effects of 80 and 40%, respectively, with iodine-sufficient diets, but only 65 and 15% with iodine-deficient diets.”

However, in regards to the effective thyroid-blocking protection directly afforded by various sources of dietary iodine, and other iodine applications, taken alone without also utilizing KI or KIO3, it was found…

From the Salt Institue:

“U.S. salt producers use potassium iodide at a level of 0.006% to 0.01% KI.”

According to Morton? Salt:

“Each 1/4 teaspoon serving of Morton? Iodized Salt (1.5 gram weight) contains 130 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide.”

Thus, to achieve an intake of 130 MILLIGRAMS of Potassium Iodide (what one KI adult dose tablet contains) would require ingesting 250 teaspoons or over 5 cups of iodized salt per day! Don’t even think about it! (Morton Lite Salt? Mixture comes in lower yet, at only 90 MICROGRAMS of Potassium Iodide per 1/4 teaspoon!)

Sea Salt is an even worse ‘option’. Iodine per Kilogram of sea salt is about 3 mg. You’d be looking at over 33 kilograms of Sea Salt a day to achieve the amount of iodine in a 130 mg dose of KI! Hardly an option!

A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish only contains about 500 MICROGRAMS of iodine. Some specific seafoods, portion size and their iodine content in MICROGRAMS: Mackerel 150g 255 mcg, Mussels 150g 180 mcg, Cod 150g 165 mcg, Kipper 150g 107 mcg, Whiting 150g 100 mcg, Fish fingers 75g 75 mcg, Scampi 150g 62 mcg, Herring 150g 48 mcg, Prawns 150g 42 mcg, Sardines, canned in oil 150g 35 mcg, Trout 150g 24 mcg, Tuna 150g 21 mcg.

Well, you can do the math here! More fish per day would be required than most eat in a year!

Kelp Tablets…hardly. Solgar? Kelp Tablets, for example, contain only 225 MICROGRAMS of iodine! (Fortunately, it is also available in a 1000 tablet bottle, unfortunately though, you’d need to be swallowing 442 of them per day and likely not wander too far from a bathroom!)

Medicines containing Potassium Iodide: Potassium iodide (KI) is an old drug used as an expectorant in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It is used to treat coughs with phlegm, feeling of fullness in the chest or pressure in the face/sinuses. Potassium iodide helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to drain bronchial tubes and make coughs more productive. It increases secretions in the respiratory tract in approximately 30 min. Today it is mainly used to treat an overactive thyroid and, of course, to protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation from inhaled or ingested (swallowed) radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide also has anti-infective properties and is sometimes used to treat certain skin conditions caused by fungus, like toenail fungus.

PIMA (Fleming & Company) and SSKI (Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.) are both available in tablets or liquid, but only with a prescription. Another, that used to be a non-prescription cough and expectorant medicine available over-the-counter (OTC) is Pediacof Cough made by Sterling Health, a Division of Miles, Inc. Common 5 ml dose contains Chlorpheniramine 0.75 mg, Codeine 5 mg, Phenylephrine 2.5 mg, Potassium Iodide 75 mg.

Any of the above may or may not be available from your local pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor. We can’t and don’t recommend you ever take any drug for any reason other than what it was intended for, nor that the suggested dosages should ever be exceeded. There may be other OTC medicines containing Potassium Iodide on the market as well, please pass them on here if you discover any.

Also, FYI, Potassium Iodide can be found in some livestock preparations, too, such as Equi-Tussin, which is a liquid expectorant and aromatic oil supplement for horses. It contains 125 mg of Potassium Iodide per fluid ounce, but it also contains Molasses, Mentholated Syrup of White Pine, Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint Oil, Glyceryl Guiacolate and Ammonium Chloride and is obviously formulated for horses, not people. You might want to keep this in mind, though, for protecting your livestock and pets.

Regarding ingesting (drinking/swallowing) iodine, iodine tablets (widely sold for water purification), tincture of iodine, or Povidone-iodine solutions (like the Betadine? brand solution): Cresson H. Kearny, the author of Nuclear War Survival Skills, Original Edition Published September, 1979, by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Facility of the U.S. Department of Energy (Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition) states on page 115:

Elemental (free) iodine is poisonous, except in the very small amounts in water disinfected with iodine tablets or a few drops of tincture of iodine. Furthermore, elemental iodine supplied by iodine tablets and released by tincture of iodine dropped into water is not effective as a blocking agent to prevent thyroid damage. If you do not have any potassium iodide, DO NOT TAKE IODINE TABLETS OR TINCTURE OF IODINE.

Iodine is normally used in doses of 8 PPM to treat clear water for a 10 minute contact time. The effectiveness and safety of this dose has been shown in numerous studies. As far back as 1953 in the study “Test of chronic toxicity of iodine as related to the purification of water”. U.S. Armed Forces medical journal, 1953, 4:725-728 Morgan DP, Karpen RJ., it was shown that:

“No adverse health effects were reported in men who drank water providing iodide at doses of 0.17-0.27 mg/kg of body weight per day for 26 weeks”

That works out to a reported safe ingestion of elemental iodine via treated water of between 14 and 22 mg per day for an 180 lb adult. To attempt to achieve a thyroid-blocking dose of nearly 100 mg of iodine (the iodine content of a 130 mg KI tablet) would thus require exceeding that proven safe level by a factor of at least four to seven times for an 180 lb adult. And, this would be with potentially poisonous elemental free iodine that is also claimed above by Cresson H. Kearny to be “…not effective as a blocking agent to prevent thyroid damage.”

Additionally, USP tincture of iodine contains 2% iodine and 2.4% sodium iodide dissolved in 50% ethyl alcohol and according to the National Academy of Sciences in Drinking Water and Health. Vol. 3. Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 1980.

Doses of 30-250 ml of tincture of iodine (about 16-130 mg of total iodine per kg of body weight) have been reported to be fatal.

The small typical one ounce bottle of tincture of iodine contains about two tablespoons or approximately 30 ml of fluid. (The larger pint bottles contain 473 ml.) To a small child, ingesting the small 1 ounce bottle, even if well diluted to make it palatable, could prove fatal.

Everyone needs to understand that all ‘tincture of iodine’ bottles are clearly marked “POISON” for a very good reason. Ingesting elemental free iodine, such as ‘tincture of iodine’, in quantities sufficient to attempt thyroid-blocking in a nuclear emergency is not a safe, nor an effective, alternative.

Finally, if someone does attempt thyroid-blocking for themselves or their children by ingesting iodine, iodine water purification tablets, tincture of iodine, or Povidone-iodine solutions (like the Betadine? brand solution), and we are strongly advising against it, they can look forward to:

* shock (potentially fatal lowering of blood pressure)
* extreme thirst
* metallic taste
* sore teeth, gums and mouth
* severe headache
* fever
* no urine output (kidney failure)
* corrosive effects on the gastrointestinal tract
* esophageal stricture, asphyxiation (swelling of the throat, esophagus)
* vomiting
* diarrhea
* abdominal pain with internal damage
* delirium
* stupor

Then, be prepared to call the Poison Control center for further guidance.
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Give milk, cornstarch, or flour by mouth (15 gm in 500 ml, or just over a pint of water). Continue to give milk every 15 minutes.

And, at the Emergency Room expect some or all of the following procedures to be performed: Gastric lavage (depending on the extent of esophageal injury), establish and maintain airway, be given milk every 15 minutes, and treatment for the symptoms.

BOTTOM LINE: DO NOT INGEST, SWALLOW OR DRINK ‘TINCTURE OF IODINE’, IT IS POISON!

Topical Iodine Applications

There has been some interesting research, though, with both humans and dogs into topically (on the skin) applied Povidone-Iodine (10%) solution (such as Betadine? or Povidex? solutions), and also with tincture of iodine, to test the absorption rates of iodine directly through the skin. But, it was found not to be as quick in providing thyroid blocking as oral Potassium Iodide (KI) or KIO3, nor as consistent, and then, often, at lower levels of protection. Questions remain of skin irritation, determining the amount of Iodine solution to apply, where best to apply it, how long to apply it, and the effects of temperature and humidity on absorption through the skin. Also, insufficient testing has been done on specific groups, such as infants, children, and pregnant and nursing women to know how effective it would be and the full range of complications that could be expected with repeated applications. For instance, the skin absorption of iodine products in neonates with inhibition of thyroid function has been documented in the past. The use of Povidone-Iodine is the most frequent cause of this type of intoxication. Another study showed that Povidone-Iodine did not significantly influence neonatal thyroid function if they were used to a full term neonate only once and even to a wide skin surface.

Another source, non-medical, claims that by using the stronger 7% tincture iodine and just dipping the index finger of the person being treated up to the first knuckle (just above the fingernail) would provide the proper dosing. They claim this would work for all people as our fingers are roughly proportionate to our size and weight. That may be true, but that this technique would actually provide sufficient quantity and effective absorption of iodine for thyroid-blocking has not been verified. (Additional documentation and source references have been requested of that author. And, will be promptly posted here if provided.)

Clearly more research is needed before embracing the topically applied techniques as a one-size-fits-all solution, as its limitations must first be more fully understood. However…

According to research by Health Physicist Ken Miller, Hershey Medical Center, using 24 healthy adult male subjects, an adult could get a blocking dose of stable iodine by painting 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm approximately 2 hours prior to I-131 contamination. The abstract of his study titled “Effectiveness of Skin Absorption of Tincture of I in Blocking Radioiodine from the Human Thyroid Gland” from Health Physics, June 1989, Vol. 56, No. 6, pages 911-914, (To read abstract, search the title of the article here) states:

“Although there were large variations within each subject group in regard to serum-I levels and thyroid uptakes, the increase in serum-I concentration after topical-I application was effective in reducing the thyroid uptake of I131. The authors conclude that in the absence of KI, most humans would benefit from topical application of tincture of-I, and that in some the effectiveness would equal that of oral KI.”

Hmmm… interesting Plan “B”(Betadine?) possibilities here, if in a pinch!

This author continues to see e-mails and forum postings highlighting some of the ongoing confusion regarding different iodine sources and their abilities to provide sufficient levels of iodine for thyroid-blocking radioiodine.

This should help clear it up some more…

Potassium iodide (KI) is 76.5% iodine.

If the FDA recommended amount required for thyroid-blocking radiation protection is 130 milligrams of KI, then that translates into 99.45 milligrams of elemental iodine.

If you are looking at a product, like a kelp liquid for example, that says on the label…

“2 drops contain -kelp standardized with potassium iodide to contain 0.15 mg (150mcg) of pure organic iodine (150%RDA)”

Then, to attain 99.45 milligrams of iodine (same as what’s in one 130 mg tablet of KI) would require ingesting 663 double drops or X 2 = 1326 single drops.

A couple drops is just fine for dietary supplementation of required iodine, but woefully underpowered for saturating the thyroid for radioiodine radiation protection.

Q: Is the Government Ready with Emergency Stocks of Potassium Iodide (KI)?

A: No, but they clearly ought to be according to KI And Nuclear Accidents – AMERICAN THYROID ASSOCIATION:

“The American Thyroid Association through its Public Health Committee has strongly recommended the stockpiling of KI for prophylaxis in the event of a nuclear reactor accident. Unfortunately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not accepted this recommendation.”

Even the latest (November, 2001) FDA document entitled Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies states:

“As time is of the essence in optimal prophylaxis with KI, timely administration to the public is a critical consideration in planning the emergency response to a radiation accident and requires a ready supply of KI.” and “FDA also emphasizes that emergency response plans and any systems for ensuring availability of KI to the public should recognize the critical importance of KI administration in advance of exposure to radioiodine.”

http://www.ki4u.com/#100

Potassium Iodide – Precautions And Warnings
3-12-11

Potassium iodide Side Effects from Drugs.com

There are long lists of pretty severe reactions – includes Hyper and Hypo thyroidism in some people, and goiter.
http://www.drugs.com/sfx/potassium-iodide-side-effects.html

EXCERPT from CDC page below –

“Adults: Adults older than 40 years should not take KI unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected. Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI.

“How often should I take KI?

“A single dose of KI protects the thyroid gland for 24 hours. A one-time dose at the levels recommended in this fact sheet is usually all that is needed to protect the thyroid gland. In some cases, radioactive iodine might be in the environment for more than 24 hours. If that happens, local emergency management or public health officials may tell you to take one dose of KI every 24 hours for a few days. You should do this only on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials, or your doctor. Avoid repeat dosing with KI for pregnant and breastfeeding women and newborn infants. Those individuals may need to be evacuated until levels of radioactive iodine in the environment fall. ”

CDC Radiation Emergencies | Potassium Iodide (KI)

Potassium Iodide (KI)

What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?

Potassium iodide (also called KI) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. Stable iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Most of the stable iodine in our bodies comes from the food we eat. KI is stable iodine in a medicine form. This fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives you some basic information about KI. It explains what you should think about before you or a family member takes KI.

What does KI do?

Following a radiological or nuclear event, radioactive iodine may be released into the air and then be breathed into the lungs. Radioactive iodine may also contaminate the local food supply and get into the body through food or through drink. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating, or drinking, we say that “internal contamination” has occurred. In the case of internal contamination with radioactive iodine, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs this chemical. Radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid can then injure the gland. Because non-radioactive KI acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury.

What KI cannot do

Knowing what KI cannot do is also important. KI cannot prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. KI can protect only the thyroid from radioactive iodine, not other parts of the body. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannotprotect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine-if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective.

How does KI work?

The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine and will absorb both. KI works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. Because KI contains so much stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine-either stable or radioactive-for the next 24 hours.

Iodized table salt also contains iodine; iodized table salt contains enough iodine to keep most people healthy under normal conditions. However, table salt does not contain enough iodine to block radioactive iodine from getting into your thyroid gland. You should not use table salt as a substitute for KI.

How well does KI work?

Knowing that KI may not give a person 100% protection against radioactive iodine is important. How well KI blocks radioactive iodine depends on how much time passes between contamination with radioactive iodine and the taking of KI (the sooner a person takes KI, the better),
how fast KI is absorbed into the blood, and the total amount of radioactive iodine to which a person is exposed.

Who should take KI?

The thyroid glands of a fetus and of an infant are most at risk of injury from radioactive iodine. Young children and people with low stores of iodine in their thyroid are also at risk of thyroid injury.

Infants (including breast-fed infants): Infants need to be given the recommended dosage of KI for babies (< #howmuchki>see How much KI should I take?). The amount of KI that gets into breast milk is not enough to protect breast-fed infants from exposure to radioactive iodine. The proper dose of KI given to a nursing infant will help protect it from radioactive iodine that it breathes in or drinks in breast milk.

Children: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that all children internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take KI, unless they have known allergies to iodine. Children from newborn to 18 years of age are the most sensitive to the potentially harmful effects of radioactive iodine.

Young Adults: The FDA recommends that young adults (between the ages of 18 and 40 years) internally contaminated with (or likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine take the recommended dose of KI. Young adults are less sensitive to the effects of radioactive iodine than are children.

Pregnant Women: Because all forms of iodine cross the placenta, pregnant women should take KI to protect the growing fetus. However, pregnant women should take only one dose of KI following internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine.

Breastfeeding Women: Women who are breastfeeding should take only one dose of KI if they have been internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine. Because radioactive iodine quickly gets into breast milk, CDC recommends that women internally contaminated with (or are likely to be internally contaminated with) radioactive iodine stop breastfeeding and feed their child baby formula or other food if it is available. If breast milk is the only food available for an infant, nursing should continue.

Adults: Adults older than 40 years should not take KI unless public health or emergency management officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected. Adults older than 40 years have the lowest chance of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after contamination with radioactive iodine. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI.

When should I take KI?

After a radiologic or nuclear event, local public health or emergency management officials will tell the public if KI or other protective actions are needed. For example, public health officials may advise you to remain in your home, school, or place of work (this is known as “shelter-in-place”) or to evacuate. You may also be told not to eat some foods and not to drink some beverages until a safe supply can be brought in from outside the affected area. Following the instructions given to you by these authorities can lower the amount of radioactive iodine that enters your body and lower the risk of serious injury to your thyroid gland.

How much KI should I take?

The FDA has approved two different forms of KI-tablets and liquid-that people can take by mouth after a nuclear radiation emergency. Tablets come in two strengths, 130 milligram (mg) and 65 mg. The tablets are scored so they may be cut into smaller pieces for lower doses. Each milliliter (mL) of the oral liquid solution contains 65 mg of KI.
According to the FDA, the following doses are appropriate to take after internal contamination with (or likely internal contamination with) radioactive iodine:

Adults should take 130 mg (one 130 mg tablet OR two 65 mg tablets OR two mL of solution).
Women who are breastfeeding should take the adult dose of 130 mg.
Children between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65 mg (one 65 mg tablet OR 1 mL of solution). Children who are adult size (greater than or equal to 150 pounds) should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32 mg ( of a 65 mg tablet OR mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing infants and children.
Newborns from birth to 1 month of age should be given 16 mg ( of a 65 mg tablet or mL of solution). This dose is for both nursing and non-nursing newborn infants.

How often should I take KI?

A single dose of KI protects the thyroid gland for 24 hours. A one-time dose at the levels recommended in this fact sheet is usually all that is needed to protect the thyroid gland. In some cases, radioactive iodine might be in the environment for more than 24 hours. If that happens, local emergency management or public health officials may tell you to take one dose of KI every 24 hours for a few days. You should do this only on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials, or your doctor. Avoid repeat dosing with KI for pregnant and breastfeeding women and newborn infants. Those individuals may need to be evacuated until levels of radioactive iodine in the environment fall.

Taking a higher dose of KI, or taking KI more often than recommended, does not offer more protection and can cause severe illness or death.

Medical conditions that may make it harmful to take KI

Taking KI may be harmful for some people because of the high levels of iodine in this medicine. You should not take KI if you know you are allergic to iodine (If you are unsure about this, consult your doctor. A seafood or shellfish allergy does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to iodine.) or you have certain skin disorders (such as dermatitis herpetiformis or urticaria vasculitis).

People with thyroid disease (for example, multinodular goiter, Graves’ disease, or autoimmune thyroiditis) may be treated with KI. This should happen under careful supervision of a doctor, especially if dosing lasts for more than a few days.

In all cases, talk to your doctor if you are not sure whether to take KI.

What are the possible risks and side effects of KI?

When public health or emergency management officials tell the public to take KI following a radiologic or nuclear event, the benefits of taking this drug outweigh the risks. This is true for all age groups. Some general side effects caused by KI may include intestinal upset, allergic reactions (possibly severe), rashes, and inflammation of the salivary glands.

When taken as recommended, KI causes only rare adverse health effects that specifically involve the thyroid gland. In general, you are more likely to have an adverse health effect involving the thyroid gland if you

take a higher than recommended dose of KI,
take the drug for several days, or
have pre-existing thyroid disease.

Newborn infants (less than 1 month old) who receive more than one dose of KI are at particular risk for developing a condition known as hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone levels that are too low). If not treated, hypothyroidism can cause brain damage. Infants who receive KI should have their thyroid hormone levels checked and monitored by a doctor. Avoid repeat dosing of KI to newborns.

Where can I get KI?

KI is available without a prescription. You should talk to your pharmacist to get KI and for directions about how to take it correctly. Your pharmacist can sell you KI brands that have been approved by the FDA.

Other Sources of Information

The FDA recommendations on KI can be reviewed on the Internet at Frequently Asked Questions on Potassium Iodide (KI) .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Response Site is available at CDC Radiation Emergencies.

http://rense.com/general93/potass.htm

Leave a Reply