Radiation Fears Prompt Rush for Potassium Iodide

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BY YIQIAN ZHANG ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO You're watching multisource politics news analysis from Newsy. ...
BY YIQIAN ZHANG ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO You're watching multisource politics news analysis from Newsy. “While Americans are watching the situation in Japan, many on the West Coast are trying to protect themselves in case of radiation fallout. People there are rushing to buy potassium iodide. It’s an over-the-counter drug that protects the thyroid from radiation.” (KRCG) In some places such as Los Angeles, the pills are sold out. But does potassium iodide even protect against radiation? A writer for medical blog WebMD says, not really. “It’s important to note that potassium iodide pills protect only the thyroid. They don’t prevent your body from taking in the radiation and don’t help prevent radiation damage to other parts of the body.” (WebMD) And a health expert tells Fox News- the risks associated with the medicine may not be worth it. “It can cause thyroid disease, it can cause allergies, it can cause stomach upset, know as you are vomiting it can cause diarrhea…” (Fox News) Regardless of whether the pills work- a health expert tells KSBW- the U.S. west coast isn’t exactly inside the radiation zone. “The evacuation zone they are moving people to is 12 miles from the nuclear plant. That’s what they are saying is a safe area. We are from five to seven thousand miles from there. Do the math.” (KSBW) But an editor for Bay Citizen argues- with all the ambiguous reports about the radiation levels, it makes sense- people are scared. “Experts we spoke to seem convinced that no matter what happens at Fukushima Daiichi, a radiation cloud blowing across the Pacific won't pose any health hazards in California. But since we don't really know exactly what level of radiation exposure might cause long-term health problems, I'm not sure I believe this.” (Bay Citizen) That editor went on to say definitive answers about radiation levels are in quote “maddeningly short supply.” Still - a BlogHer writer says that’s no reason to panic. “You can either run around like a headless chicken, hightailing it to the closest pharmacy so you can buy hundreds of bottles of potassium iodide, while you constantly wonder when the world will cave in, or you can do your best to be informed -- then take a deep breath -- and let it go.” (BlogHer) According to Google Insights, searches for “potassium iodide” and similar terms have increased more than 5,000 percent over the past week- but only in the U.S. Follow Newsy_Videos on Twitter Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy
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