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Public Health Emergency Preparedness : FAQs-Radiation Emergency: Should I Take Potassium Iodide During a Radiation Emergency?


Should I Take Potassium Iodide During a Radiation Emergency?


  • ​Radioactive Iodine is a byproduct of nuclear fission processes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. You can protect yourself from the effects of cancer-causing adioactive iodine with FDA Approved IOSAT™ or ThyroShield™ Potassium
    Iodide (KI). A non-prescription drug, Potassium Iodide protects against radioactive iodine by preventing its absorption by the thyroid gland located in the neck. Potassium Iodide must be taken during or before exposure to radioactive iodine to be effective.
  • Potassium iodide (KI) should only be taken in a radiation emergency that involves the release of radioactive iodine, such as an accident at a nuclear power plant or the explosion of a nuclear bomb. A “dirty bomb”, most likely will not contain radioactive iodine.
  • A person who is internally contaminated with radioactive iodine may experience thyroid disease later in life. The thyroid gland will absorb radioactive iodine and may develop cancer or abnormal growths later on. KI will saturate the thyroid gland with iodine, decreasing the amount of harmful radioactive iodine that can be absorbed.
  • KI only protects the thyroid gland and does not provide protection from any other radiation exposure.
  • Some people are allergic to iodine and should not take KI. Check with your doctor about any concerns you have about potassium iodide.


Created at 7/9/2014 8:39 AM by Webmaster
Last modified at 7/9/2014 8:39 AM by Webmaster