Interesting thoughts on radiation exposure and the use of Iodine (KI) tablets. What are your thoughts?
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission provides KI pills to states with nuclear power plants, enabling (but not requiring) them to distribute the pills to residents within 10 miles of a plant. In 2002, Congress ordered that the distance be extended to 20 miles, but in 2008 the Bush Administration invoked a waiver to override that provision. The new ruling said that the 10-mile radius was adequate because the primary focus would be on evacuation and avoidance of contaminated food and water.
In contrast, the ATA’s position since 1984 has been that KI pills should be distributed to households within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant and should be available to those within a 200-mile radius. In fact, it cites evidence from the Chernobyl nuclear accident to support its position:
After the 1986 Chornobyl (formerly called “Chernobyl”) nuclear accident, shifting winds blew a radioactive cloud all over Europe. As many as 3,000 people exposed to that radiation have already developed thyroid cancer. Most victims had been babies or young children living in Ukraine, Belarus, or Russia at the time of the accident. According to a UN report released in February 2002, another 8,000 to 10,000 exposed people may develop thyroid cancer within the next 10 years. Poland, immediately adjacent to Belarus and Ukraine, distributed KI to its people and does not appear to have had an increase in thyroid cancer.
“We think the disaster zone for a drug that is potentially cancer preventive with limited side effects — and one that is hard to distribute after a disaster — needs to be distributed beforehand to people within 50 miles,” says Dr. Kloos. The ATA supports the focus on evacuation but still believes that KI pills can be an important part of an evacuation plan if distributed before a disaster takes place.
“Because of the panic and infrastructure disruption that can occur, getting away is not as easy as one might think it is,” Dr. Kloos says. “We saw how hard it was to get away from Hurricane Katrina.” People in radiation-disaster areas could at least have some protection with KI pills while they implement their evacuation plans if they stocked the pills ahead of time.
In fact, Dr. Kloos believes that it is reasonable for anyone to keep a supply of KI pills in their homes.