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Not Yet Time to Take Iodine

Are we in danger from radiation blowing our way from melted power plants in Japan? The reality is that the Japanese are the ones who have to worry. It turns out that even a major multiple meltdown in Japan is unlikely to have much of an effect here. Regarding iodine pills, they are only needed in the case of very significant doses of Iodine-131. In order to need them, you'd probably need to be downwind of a nuclear blast, and people over 40 shouldn't take them at all, radiation exposure or not, because the chances of having an allergic reaction to the pills exceed the chances of getting cancer from radiation poisoning.

In the March 15th edition of the Seattle Times, Sandi Doughton quotes State Dept. of Health spokesman Donn Moyer as saying, "There's a huge misunderstanding about what it does. Some people call it an anti-radiation pill, but it's not." In any case, KI-131 radiation has a half life of 8 days, after which it is essentially Harmless, meaning that by the time it reached Hawaii or the West Coast of the US, it would be harmless.

Doughton quotes Washington atmospheric scientist Dan Jaffe as saying, "Time is your friend because you get more dilution, more removal and more radioactive decay of the particles before they arrive." She quotes Ira Helfand of the Physicians for Social Responsibility as saying, "I'm very concerned that there could be a fairly significant problem in Japan. I'm less concerned about the health effects here in the United States. It's very hard to know, but I think the danger to the West Coast is still going to be quite small because of the huge distance involved."

In the March 14th edition of the Los Angeles Times, Shari Roan quotes physicist Ken Bergeron as saying, "This is a Japanese health issue of great significance and we shouldn't confuse it with health concerns in the United States." Medical physicist Jerrold Bushberg agrees. Roan quotes him as saying that for US residents "there would be no cause for any concern." You can trust unknowncountry.com to tell you the truth (and we correct ourselves if we're wrong). If you want this kind of reporting to be there the next time you fire up your computer, be sure to subscribe today!



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