What Precautions Are Recommended If Ki Is Used
The FDA determined that the benefits of KI treatment to reduce the risk of thyroid cancer outweigh the risks of such treatment in neonates. However, in light of the potential consequences of transient hypothyroidism for intellectual development, FDA recommends that neonates treated with KI be monitored for this effect by measurement of TSH . Thyroid hormone therapy should be instituted in cases in which hypothyroidism develops.
Are You In The Zone Of Proximity To A Nuclear Reactor
In Canada, the concern is mainly for those living or working in the primary zone within 16.1 km from a nuclear reactor at the time of an accident that releases radioactive iodine into the air.
The secondary zone of risk is considered within 80 km of a nuclear reactor.
In comparison, European zones of proximity for pre-distribution of KI tablets vary from country to country.
All countries having nuclear power plants in their territories are pre-distributing stable iodine.
The area for predistribution varies from 5 km radius around the NPP to 50 km for the Ignalina NPP in Lithuania.
In most cases, stable iodine is delivered to the whole population. Pre-distribution may be of the responsibility of NPP operators or of local authorities.
Compare that to this:
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has mandated that all residents within the primary zone of a nuclear installation have the pills available in their homes.
In Canada, we have 5 nuclear power plants:
- Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario
- Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario
- Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario
- Gentilly-2 Nuclear Facility, Québec
- Point Lepreau Generating Station, New Brunswick
In the primary zone of these plants, pills should be pre-distributed by authorities, or the residents are told they have to pick them up. Pre-distribution of KI pills was in the news in 2018.
How Do I Know When To Take A Potassium Iodide Dose
Not all nuclear plant emergencies will result in radioactive iodine being released to the outside air. In fact, such an incident is quite rare. Ontarios Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan includes a notification process for residents and businesses in the area. The local Medical Officer of Health will direct residents when they are to use potassium iodide. This will be communicated to residents by many channels including radio, TV, the internet, and potentially direct telephone calls.
Therefore, even though a person has heard of an incident at a nuclear power plant, they should not take the potassium iodide pills unless directed by public health officials. The pills work best when taken immediately before or as soon as possible after exposure. Taking the pills too far in advance will not provide any health benefit.
What is the Recommended Dose of Potassium Iodide?
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission , the regulator over the use of radioactive material in Canada, provides the following table of doses for people, depending on their age and whether or not they are pregnant. If the medical Officer of Health has directed people around a nuclear power plant to take potassium iodide, the following table includes the recommended dose to take, along with the timing of doses.
|¼ tablet dissolved in fluids
The Risks Of Dosing High Quantities Of Iodine
While preventing iodine deficiency is important, its equally important not to err on the side of iodine excess.
Unfortunately, it has become trendy in some health communities, even some thyroid patient communities, to overdose iodine. Recommendations for overdose often show a callous disregard for its health risks.
- Patients with thyroid disorders are quite vulnerable to disinformation and peer pressure to try iodine excess as a solution for chronic hypothyroid symptoms during therapy. They are often not aware that it may hinder or distort the function of their remaining healthy thyroid tissue, as described below.
- People with thyroid nodules are sometimes told online that they can melt away their nodules with high doses of iodine. Many do not realize that some nodules can become toxic under acute iodine dosing, and there are better, more scientific approaches, such as non-toxic doses of selenium and myo-inositol.
- If iodine overdose works well for a patient, they will sometimes become evangelists who persuade their peers to try it, without awareness of the real dangers it poses to their peers who may have genetic predisposition to thyroid autoimmunity or preexisting diagnoses of Hashimotos, atrophic thyroiditis, or Graves disease.
The American Thyroid Association published a ATA Statement on the Potential Risks of Excess Iodine Ingestion and Exposure back in 2013:
Why caution about iodine doses > 500 mcg per day?
Risk of iodine-induced HYPOthyroidism
Does Potassium Iodide Protect Against Other Exposures
Potassium iodide pills have been called anti-radiation pills in the past, but this is quite misleading. Potassium iodide pills ONLY protect against thyroid-related health consequences due to the exposure of persons to radioactive iodine.
Also Check: How To Regrow Hair After Chemo
Can Potassium Iodide Be Taken As A Supplement
Potassium iodide is not an anti-radiation supplement. You should never use it as a preventive measure against radiation exposure. You should use it only during or after an expected exposure and only if public health officials direct you to do so.
Potassium iodide will work only if you take it at the right time and in the right dose. Taking it continuously when theres no risk of radiation exposure can lead to serious complications.
In certain situations outside of nuclear emergencies, healthcare professionals may prescribe potassium iodide for conditions such as severe hyperthyroidism and cutaneous inflammatory dermatoses or to protect the thyroid when using radiopharmaceutical agents.
People with low iodine intake may also use it as a
Radiation Emergency Training Education And Tools
CDC provides technical assistance, training, and tools to help preparedness professionals and communities be ready for a radiation emergency.
for the Radiation and Health Newsletter
On This PageLinks with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
- Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
- CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance on other federal or private website.
CDC.gov Privacy Settings
We take your privacy seriously. You can review and change the way we collect information below.
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
Don’t Miss: Breast Cancer Of The Nipple
What Is Radioactive Contamination
Radioactive contamination occurs when radioactive material is deposited on or in an object or a person. Radioactive materials released into the environment can cause air, water, surfaces, soil, plants, buildings, people, or animals to become contaminated. A contaminated person has radioactive materials on or inside their body.
Potassium Iodide For Radiation Exposure
Potassium iodide was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1982 for thyroid protection from radioactive iodine accidents. Of the many radioactive elements released by nuclear accidents, radioactive Iodine-131 is a major component and a huge risk factor for humans.
Potassium iodide is a salt form of stable iodine , and works by blocking radioactive iodine uptake and binding in our thyroid tissue. Non-radioactive potassium iodide is instantly absorbed by the thyroid, binds to the thyroid tissue to saturation, and inhibits the absorption of radioactive iodine for up to 24 hours. However, excess iodine is not without complications, particularly in infants, as it inhibits the production of thyroid hormones and can cause hypothyroidism in infants. Further, iodine, whether radioactive or non-radioactive is transported to a high level in human or animal milk. Thus, breastfeeding mothers should use great caution in using potassium iodide.
In the event of a radioactive emergency, the CDC recommends that potassium iodide be taken by the following groups:
Infants – The normal amount of potassium iodide present in breast milk is not sufficient to protect an infant who has been exposed to radioactive Iodine-131. Thus, infants exposed to environmental radioactive Iodine-131 or other forms of radioactive iodine must receive Potassium Iodide to block uptake of radiation in the infants thyroid gland.
Read Also: Radiation For Breast Cancer And Lung Damage
What Can Happen In A Major Nuclear Reactor Emergency
Nuclear power plants operate under rigorous regulatory requirements and have many built-in safety features. With all the protective systems and procedures in place, there is only an extremely small possibility of a major emergency at a nuclear reactor. If such an event were to occur, there is a chance that radioactive fission products may be released to the environment. One of the fission products that may be released to the air around a nuclear power plant is radioactive iodine.
Once released to the air, radioactive iodine can be moved by the wind, entering areas immediately around the nuclear power plant. If people breathe air that is contaminated with the radioactive iodine, the iodine can enter our bodies.
However, having the potassium iodide pills on hand is not going to be helpful if people do not understand their purpose or how to use them.
How Potassium Iodide Works
Certain forms of iodine help your thyroid gland work right. Most people get the iodine they need from foods like iodized salt or fish. The thyroid can “store” or hold only a certain amount of iodine. In a nuclear radiation emergency, radioactive iodine may be released in the air. This material may be breathed or swallowed. It may enter the thyroid gland and damage it. The damage would probably not show itself for years. Children are most likely to have thyroid damage. If you take KI, it will block or reduce the chances that radioactive iodine will enter your thyroid gland.
Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Women Or Babies Under 1 Month Of Age:
Take as directed above and call a doctor as soon as possible. Repeat dosing should be avoided. It is recommended that thyroid function be checked in babies less than 1 month of age that take KI. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also be checked by a doctor if repeat dosing is necessary. Although these precautions should be taken, the benefits of short-term use of KI to block uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland far exceed its chances of side effects.
Before Taking This Medicine
You should not use potassium iodide if you ar allergic to iodide or iodine.
You may not be able to use potassium iodide for exposure to nuclear radiation if you have:
thyroid nodules and heart problems
inflammation of the small blood vessels that causes episodes of hives, itching, burning, and painful skin sores.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
a thyroid disorder
Potassium iodide is used in children only during a nuclear radiation emergency. Do not give potassium iodide to a child without medical advice.
Potassium iodide can cause thyroid problems in both mother and baby when used during pregnancy. However, the benefit of taking this medicine to protect your thyroid from nuclear radiation exposure far outweighs any risks of thyroid harm.
Any pregnant or breastfeeding woman or infant who takes potassium iodide should have their thyroid function checked after using this medicine. Seek medical care as soon as possible.
If you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor if you notice a skin rash, muscle weakness, yellowed skin, breathing problems, feeding problems, or unusual crying in the nursing baby.
Also Check: What Do The 4 Stages Of Cancer Mean
How Much Ki Do I Take
The table below shows the smallest KI dose that different age groups can take which will protect the thyroid. KI comes in liquid, 65-mg tablets and 130-mg tablets. Since it is hard to cut many pills, the State Health Commissioner says that, in an emergency, it is safe for children at school or day care centers to take the whole pill. It’s better for children under 12 years old to take the 65-mg pill, but it is safe to take the 130-mg pill if that is the only one you have. For children or babies who cannot take pills, parents and caregivers can cut or crush the pill to make lower doses, or give the liquid form of KI.
Potassium Iodide Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, rash fever, swollen glands, joint pain wheezing, difficult breathing, trouble swallowing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Potassium iodide may cause serious side effects. Stop using potassium iodide and call your doctor at once if you have:
Don’t Miss: Low Back Pain Radiating To Groin
Listen Learn And Prepare
This Canadian government page explains a lot about potassium iodide in the event of a nuclear emergency:
- Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. . Potassium iodide pills. Government of Canada.
At the top of the page is a notice in pink shading, saying
We are actively monitoring the events in Ukraine and are working closely with our federal and international counterparts to offer assistance.
The notice was updated within 1 hour after I took the screenshot below:
They explain that
KI saturates your thyroid gland, preventing radioactive iodine from being absorbed over time, the radioactive iodine will decay and be harmlessly excreted in urine.
The RadBlock tablets shown in the image are manufactured by KI Canada, Ltd, and can be ordered online here .
A news outlet in Finland called Yle has published a notice from pharmacists saying theres No need to hoard iodine tablets. However, the Finnish authorities are already prepared: each housing company in Finland has an obligation to store iodine tablets for its residents.
Another news outlet reported on March 4th, that
As a precautionary measure, Ukrainian authorities are currently distributing iodine tablets to residents living near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor, which was hit by a Russian shelling that caused a large fire at the site last night. .
These international organizations are on the alert.
Making A Potassium Iodide Liquid Mixture:
1. Put one 65 mg KI tablet into a small bowl and grind it into a fine powder using the back of a metal teaspoon against the inside of the bowl. The powder should not have any large pieces. 2. Add 4 teaspoons of water to the crushed KI powder in the bowl and mix until the KI powder is dissolved in the water. 3. Take the KI water mixture solution made in step 2 and mix it with 4 teaspoons of low fat white or chocolate milk, orange juice, flat soda, raspberry syrup, or infant formula. 4. The KI liquid mixture will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. It is recommended that the KI liquid mixtures be prepared weekly. Throw away unused portions. The amount of KI in the drink when mixed as described above is 8.125 mg per teaspoon. The number of teaspoons of the drink to give your child depends on your child’s age as described in the following table:
|Give your child this amount in teaspoons
|Over 12 to 18 years old who weigh less than 150 pounds
|8 teaspoons will give you a 65 mg dose
|Over 3 to 12 years old
|8 teaspoons will give you a 65 mg dose
|Over 1 month to 3 years old
|4 teaspoons will give you a 32.5 mg dose
|Birth to 1 month
|2 teaspoons will give you a 16.25 mg dose
Note: This is the amount to give your child for one single dose in teaspoons . You should give your child one dose each day as recommended by the public officials.
Also Check: How Do You Feel After Radiation Treatment
What Are The Risks To The Thyroid From Radioiodine
The radiation dose to the thyroid that results from the uptake of radioiodine increases the risk of thyroid cancer, especially among children. Observations in Europe following the Chernobyl reactor accident in 1986 suggest that the younger the child at the time of exposure, the greater the risk of thyroid cancer. Risk may accrue at very low levels of radioiodine exposure, especially in young children. High radiation doses to the thyroid can also induce hypothyroidism, both in children and adults.
Will Potassium Iodide Pills Protect Me From Contaminated Food
If radioactive iodine is released from a nuclear power plant during a major emergency, eventually that airborne material will settle out onto the ground. If the radioactive iodine settles out onto pasture, for example, which is then consumed by animals, the animals can ingest the radioactive iodine into their bodies. People who then consume the animal or products from that animal could take in radioactive iodine and be further at risk from the radioactive iodine.
Administration of potassium iodide at thyroid blocking doses is generally only performed in the short-term to protect personnel from exposure to radioactive iodine when it is airborne, during the timeframe when there is a chance for persons to breathe in the radioactive-iodine-contaminated air. This period would generally last only about 24-48 hours.
Protection of people during the later stages of the response to such a nuclear emergency, including the response to contaminated land, will be extensive and food control measures will be implemented. Potassium iodine consumption after the initial response is not recommended.
Also Check: How To Repair Veins After Chemo