Scared Americans Stock Up on Anti-Radiation Pills

Potassium iodide, Geiger counters flying off the shelves

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 16, 2011 6:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – An ocean away from the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, worried Americans are stocking up on Geiger counters and supplements that can block one effect of radiation exposure. Pharmacies around the country are rapidly running out of potassium iodide, which can protect the thyroid gland from radiation damage, the AP reports.

Suppliers say they are receiving calls from panicked customers, but experts say Americans shouldn't worry about being exposed to radiation from Japan, and shouldn't bother buying potassium iodide unless they live near a nuclear plant. "I think it's exceedingly improbable—I'd say impossible—that this accident would deliver any detectable amount of radiation at ground level in the United States," a nuclear expert tells the Los Angeles Times. "It would be barely detectable and have absolutely no health consequences."

Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy.
Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy.   (AP Photo/Richard Matthews)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow

There's a lot of mythology about the use of potassium iodide. It's not a radiation antidote in general. - Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
11%
56%
11%
4%
1%
18%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   HitFix   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   CollegeHumor   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!