Watching the devastation in Japan, I have not felt such deep astonishment and sadness since being in New York at the time of 9/11. What has happened and continues to evolve there is heart wrenching. It is important in such times to arm ourselves with facts in addition to sending our prayers and aid to those in Japan. Given the current state of Japan’s damaged nuclear reactors, there is a potential risk of radiation fallout. Here’s what you need to know to be prepared:
The Risk of Radiation Fallout
Radiation is commonly associated with cancer — Thyroid Cancer being at the top of the list. As of March 17, Japan’s MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) announced that all areas of Japan now have detectable radiation (additional source here). If there is a melt down of the reactors, the jet streams between Japan and the Western U.S. will bring this radiation to our shores, reaching Washington state in as little as 2-3 days. Click here to see the updated jet streams as of March 17, 2011 from the radiation leak in Japan.
Potassium Iodide Supplementation
Fortunately there is a supplement that can prevent radiation fallout from damaging us: potassium iodide (not iodine), as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). When we take potassium iodide orally, our bodies absorb the iodide which prevents the radioactive isotopes from binding in our bodies.
Please note: only potassium iodide can be used, not iodine. Iodine would be toxic in the amount required to prevent the health risks associated with radiation.
Although it’s a great idea to have a supply of potassium iodide on hand (see source below), we do not recommend that you take your first dose of iodide right now. Potassium iodide must be taken immediately before, or at the time of radiation exposure, since taking it sooner may cause other health problems.
Again, we recommend that you wait until a confirmed exposure is within one to two days away to begin taking potassium iodide. After that, you must continue to take it daily until the danger of exposure has completely resolved, because potassium iodide is cleared out of the body within 24 to 72 hours after ingestion. Recommended dosages:
– Adults and women who are breastfeeding: 130 mg of potassium iodide.
– Children who are adult size: 130 mg of potassium iodide.
– Children between 3 and 18 years of age: 65 mg of potassium iodide.
– Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age: 32 mg of potassium iodide.
– Newborns from birth to one month: 16 mg of potassium iodide.
Potassium Iodide Source in Seattle
One local source for potassium iodide in Seattle is from Vitality Medispa and Medical Clinic in the Queen Anne neighborhood, available by calling 206-622-5300.
More Interesting Links Related to Radiation:
Additional Advice for Radiation Fallout: (source: Natural News)
If you live in the Western United States or Canadian provinces, here are additional steps you can take to be fully prepared:
1) Fuel up your vehicle(s) and be ready to evacuate (or hunker down if you’re out in the country and feel like you would be safer there).
2) If you plan to stay home, go to the hardware store and buy large amounts of plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal up your windows and doors. This will help protect you from radioactive fallout. You will also need to store water, food, and all the usual emergency supplies because outside help probably won’t be available.
3) If you plan to evacuate, have a “Go Bag” ready to go at a moment’s notice. This go bag should include a water filter, emergency radio, flashlight, duct tape, emergency knife, spare cash, whatever medical supplies you might need, extra food and water, spare fuel cans and so on. Have it ready now in case you need it.
5) If you have potassium iodide pills (radiation pills), don’t take them yet. You can get them by calling Vitality. Keep them ready to take — if, and only if — a meltdown event occurs and a confirmed massive dose of radiation has been released into the atmosphere.
6) Have a plan for you and your family. Where will you meet if you need to evacuate? Don’t count on cell phones working. Have a plan of where to go, how to get there, and how to survive once you get there.
I will keep you updated as I find out more information.
– Dr. Tami Meraglia