Should you have a stock of potassium iodide handy?

With a nuke plant in Japan spewing radiation and three others in danger of meltdown, it might be a good idea for people who don’t have potassium iodide on hand to get some.  The reason that taking potassium iodide is important if you are exposed to even very low levels of radiation is that one of the components of the radiation is radioactive iodine.  If your thyroid is not saturated with non-radioactive iodine, particles of radioactive iodine can enter your thyroid just by breathing them in.  Once a radioactive particle of iodine is in your thyroid, it emits radiation–like little burns–and inflames the organ.  Eventually the inflammation can lead to cancer or other problems.

The potential for thyroid problems can be minimized by keeping the thyroid saturated with non-radioactive iodine.  This can be done in a number of ways including taking pills designed for this purpose.  Some sites say that you can also put drugstore iodine liquid on your skin (never take this internally!!!), but a friend who is a journalist interviewed a pharmacist who told him that this isn’t true.  Another alternative is to make a solution of potassium iodide crystals and water and take 4 drops of the solution/day.  You just add the crystals to room temperature water and stir until they don’t dissolve any more (saturated solution).  You can read more about this at:
The section titled, “Myth 11” describes more about making your own nuke pills.

We have bought a quantity of lab grade potassium iodide to have on hand, just in case.  We have enough for our large animals and dogs in addition to our immediate family.  We don’t have enough for all of our friends.  If you would like to similarly prepared, just google “laboratory supplies” and then use various site search engines to find potassium iodide.  Don’t get potassium iodate.  If you can afford it, getting 500gm. (about a lb.) would give you enough to share with others, if it becomes necessary.  Here is a link to one site, but I do think you can find if for about half the price: If anyone reading this finds better sources, please send me a link and I’ll send it around.

Here is a link to a chart that shows what could happen in the event of a meltdown in Japan: While at the present time there isn’t very much danger of significant radiation reaching the US, if/when a meltdown occurs the situation could change drastically.

Update:  A friend in Eatonville contacted the pharmacist regarding potassium iodide and they have a stock of it and more on order for Friday.  I don’t know if it is pills,, but I suspect it is pills rather than crystals.  That is a much more expensive alternative, but possibly easier.  Apparently the health food store in Tacoma is out of the pills.  We are looking for a local source of the crystals.  Potassium iodide is used to process photographs, so it is available for purposes other than as a supplement.

Also apparently eating miso is scientifically proven to be helpful when exposed to low levels of radiation.  And eating clay is another natural way to rid the body of radioactive particles.

Update, 3-15-11 8:30 pm: The Washington Post reports that all personnel at the Fukushima plant have been evacuated. A logical conclusion about this is that “they’ve” decided that the situation is unmanageable and that the reactor cores will inevitably melt.  What remains to be seen is whether they melt down or melt up.  Either way it is bad for the Japanese.  If they melt up and spew radioactive material into the upper atmosphere, it is really bad for the rest of the world, too, particularly the Western USA.

Update, 3-16-11 12:30 pm: I found a source for bulk lab-grade KI for only $72.00/500gm.  This amount is enough for about 25 people, according to my calculations (and depending on how long it would need to be taken).  I wasn’t able to get through on the phone–put on hold for a long time, but they seem to have it in stock.  It shows to be 99% pure, not nearly as pure a what I bought, so that would be a question I’d ask if I could talk to them.  If the impurities are something benign, that would be OK.  Here is the link:


~ by Anuttama on March 15, 2011.

3 Responses to “Should you have a stock of potassium iodide handy?”


    Here is a source I found with some interesting comments. . . .

  2. the website i found says it does not treat radiation, is this true or do they just have to say this to be legal because they arent FDA approved.

    • Potassium iodide doesn’t actually treat radiation. What it does is saturates the thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine. That means that the thyroid can’t pick up any radioactive iodine if it is around. But it certainly doesn’t treat radiation. It just protects the thyroid.

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