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Demand For Potassium Iodide Spikes

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Demand For Potassium Iodide Spikes

Vitamin C is out, potassium iodide is in.

People all over the world are buying potassium iodide in the wake of fears that radiation from Japan could make its way around globe. Potassium iodide pills can provide some protection against iodine radiation, which can cause thyroid cancer, particularly in children.

However, all of it could be for nothing.

Says Dr. Glenn Braunstein, chairman of the Department of Medicine at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:

"The amount of radiation, if any, that ever reaches the U.S. is going to be so small that it's probably going to be less than the radiation one could get in flying from Los Angeles to New York."

The interim director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Howard Backer, and the acting secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, Mike Dayton, issued a joint statement about taking the pills:

“We urge Californians to not take potassium iodide as a precautionary measure. It is not necessary given the current circumstances in Japan, it can present a danger to people with allergies to iodine, shellfish or who have thyroid problems, and taken inappropriately it can have serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding.”

The bottom line is this: If you live outside of Japan, you DON’T need the pills!

[Image via AP Images.]

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