You need some iodine in your diet so the thyroid gland in your neck can make hormones to regulate your metabolism. The problem is that your body can’t tell the difference between the normal iodine found in seafood and table salt and the radioactive variety (1-131) from a troubled nuclear power station. Exposure to radioactive iodine can raise your risk for subsequent thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer ended up being the biggest negative health impact caused by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, according to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. More than 6,000 Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian residents who were children at the time of the disaster had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of 2006, the disaster’s 20th anniversary.
According to Nestor Rigual, a head and neck surgeon with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, “Iodine is the building block for thyroid hormone. The thyroid tissue has a very specific and strong affinity for absorbing iodine.” Potassium tablets can saturate the gland and crowd out the radioactive iodine in a chemical competition, he says. “In that way, the radioactive iodine doesn’t have as high a chance of damaging the gland.”
To simplify the idea it is a lot like the idea of saturating your hair with water before swimming in a chlorinated pool. If the inner shaft of the hair is filled with water there is less chance for chlorine to get in as well.
The amount of iodine you can get from iodized salt or your regular diet isn’t enough to protect you from radiation. You need much more. The Morton’s salt umbrella will not protect you from this for sure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, iodine tablets can prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine for up to 24 hours. Young children and fetuses are most vulnerable to radioactive iodine. Older people aren’t at as much risk and people older than 40 shouldn’t take preventive iodine supplements “unless a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected” and public health officials recommend it. Some people may be allergic to iodine and may not be able to tolerate the supplements, the CDC says.
The supplemental iodine isn’t a complete guarantee of protection. It must be taken BEFORE the exposure. Also, the iodine pills only offer work against radioactive iodine and not other radioactive elements, such as cesium, which has also been detected.
Locally, Alan Morris started a company in Palm Harbor Florida called Anbex Inc. and in 1982 began making potassium iodide pills under the brand name Iosat. Iosat is one of two thyroid-blocking agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter use during radiation emergencies.
Please read my other articles:
Could Florida become the next Japan part one
Could Florida be the next Japan part two – Health Risks