As containment efforts are hampered by an array of setbacks and malfunctions, the fate of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was critically damaged during last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, has become increasingly uncertain.
While the potential for a full-scale meltdown at one or more of the power plant’s six nuclear reactors remains, it’s important to remember that catastrophe is not a foregone conclusion. We should remain calm as the situation unfolds and be wary of misinformation.
Nevertheless, should a worst-case scenario become reality, it’s possible that nuclear fallout could affect California. There are no failsafe ways to protect yourself from excessive radiation, but you should consider stocking potassium iodide capsules or scored tablets in your medicine cabinet.
A little background: During a nuclear accident, radioactive iodine can be released into the air. Radioactive iodine can enter your body through ingestion or inhalation, and is absorbed by the thyroid gland.
Potassium iodide is a supplement that, as mentioned above, can be taken as a capsule or tablet. Potassium iodide blocks the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid. Potassium iodide supplements do not, however, prevent radioactive atoms from entering your body.
You should only take the potassium iodide supplement if the health department issues a warning that radioactive exposure is imminent. The recommended dose is one 130 mg tablet per day. We've just checked with Vitamin Shoppe and three other retailers, and not surprisingly, there are sold out. There are still some reliable online stores. We recommend Life Extension.
Learn about radiation protection, and specifically about radioactive iodine, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency >>
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s emergency preparedness and response wesbite has a lot of useful information on potassium iodide >>
Protecting yourself in a nuclear emergency with potassium iodide >>