Here is some information that may be helpful in tracking down an appropriate "thyroid blocker" to protect you from cesium-137 and other radiation associated with nuclear power plant releases that may affect the U.S. in the near or distant future. There is a conflict of opinion between the two articles. "ki" - potassium iodide - is more readily available now than "KIO3" - potassium iodate. KI has been around for decades and seems to have the edge in the opinion of the FDA and UN WHO. Considering the sources, you will have to use your discretion as to the best choice in the event that you have one before you. There are a number of current products listed at the bottom that you can track down via searches. The western USA is likely to have the most direct effects to deal with in this round. More radiation mitigation tips will follow. - Greg Lynch
Potassium Iodide Dosage, Shelf Life and Sources
December 23, 2002
What is the daily dosage required?
Current FDA guidelines call for the daily administration of 130 mg. of potassium iodide (KI)) for up to 14 days for adults and children over 60 pounds. Smaller children should take one half tablet for 14 days.
Recent findings and the experience at Chernobyl (where 18 million children were given KI) suggest KI is even more effective than previously realized, and that thyroid blocking can take place at smaller doses. As a result, FDA is considering reducing the amount of the dosage, and is studying dose levels as small as 16 mg. for infants and 32 mgs. for small children for shorter periods. Currently, however, package instructions should be followed in the event of a large release of radioactive iodine from a power plant accident or a nuclear weapon.
How long is the shelf life of potassium iodide?
Potassium Iodide is inherently stable. If kept dry in an unopened container at room temperature, it can be expected to last indefinitely.
Potassium Iodide works by "saturating" the thyroid with stable iodide so it will not absorb radioactive iodine that might be released in an accident. Under current dosing guidelines, a fully saturated thyroid would be protected for up to one month, which is long enough for radioactive iodine (which has a half life of 8 days) to disappear from the environment.
What is the US Government position on providing KI to workers and the public in the event of another nuclear emergency?
The U S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) does not dispute the safety or effectiveness of KI. In fact, they require nuclear power plants to stockpile it to protect plant workers, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) plans call for KI to protect those individuals who would be unable to be evacuated in a nuclear accident especially those under the care of the government (such as prisoners or patients in government hospitals).
But the NRC is resisting the calls for a national stockpile of KI, claiming it is "unnecessary." As a result, the US remains the only major nuclear power that does not have a supply to protect its citizens. Recently, to counter the widespread criticism of this policy, the government announced it had established a "national stockpile" of KI. This news was welcomed by many in the scientific community. However, at a recent meeting, the NRC admitted that its operational "national stockpile" consisted of only 2500 tablets, not even enough for 200 people.
As a reaction to criticism by US medical groups and the World Health Organization, the NRC has announced it would make KI available (free of charge) to state or local governments desiring it. Again, this news was greeted with enthusiasm. However, following this announcement, the NRC "clarified" its position, and now says it will provide KI only to those people living in communities within the 10 mile "EPZ" (Emergency Planning Zone) surrounding nuclear plants. Given that most casualties in a nuclear accident would take place more than 50 miles from the plant (following Chernobyl, thousands of cases of childhood thyroid cancer developed hundreds of miles away), the current NRC position is probably of questionable value.
SOURCES FOR POTASSIUM IODIDE - KI
Anbex, Inc - 130 mg. per tablet, 14 tablets per package; 1 - 10 Packages $10.00/Package; Shipping and Handling $4.00 Per Order
COSMOS Online* Trade Center - 16 suppliers in Mexico
KI4U.com - see site for various pricing
Lab Depot - Potassium Iodide, Granular, Reagent, ACS $84.60
Outdoor Depot - One bottle contains a 2-week supply for one person. $49.95
SOURCES FOR POTASSIUM IODATE - KIO3
B&A Products - bottle of 100 tablets of 150mg is $18.00, Two bottles is 33.00, Three bottles is 48.00, Four bottles is 64.00
KI4U.com - see site for various pricing
Medical Corps - 200 85mg tablets per bottle: $27.60 a bottle, postage paid
$19.95 100 fresh tablets of Potassium Iodate 150mg tablets
Potassium Iodate or Potassium Iodine - Which Do I Use?
I contacted at least 12 different companies and agencies regarding the difference in using Potassium Iodide and Potassium Iodate. The most unbiased answer came from Marcia Carpenter, Radiological Emergency Response Team U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Marcia writes:
"In response to your question about potassium iodate versus iodide, here are the basics:
Potassium Iodate (KIO3) and Potassium Iodide (KI) are not the same.
KIO3 - molecular weight 214.00 is 18.27 % K, 22.43 % O and 59.30 % I, so you would have to administer 168.63 milligrams of KIO3 to deliver 100 milligrams of iodine.
KI - molecular weight 166.01 is 23.55 % K and 76.45 % I, so you would have to administer 130.81 milligrams of KI to deliver 100 milligrams of iodine.
Both compounds are soluble in water, but KI is very soluble. KI is much less stable than KIO3. When KI breaks down, it becomes yellow due to release of iodine and it may produce small amounts of iodate. When iodate breaks down, it also produces a yellow color from iodine. Both compounds should be protected from light and moisture to improve stability.
As to which is preferred for use in the event of nuclear accidents, I can refer you to the following quote and its associated reference. The quote is from a World Health Organization (WHO) and International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) working document entitled "Guidelines for Stable Iodine Prophylaxis Following Nuclear Accidents," dated 10/19/98.
And I quote...
"Stable iodine can be used as either potassium iodide or potassium iodate. Potassium iodide (KI) is the preferred alternative, since potassium iodate (KIO3) has the disadvantage of being a stronger intestinal irritant."
Since this document is still in draft, you might want to go to the original work they cite. It is:
Rubery ED. Practical aspects of prophylactic stable iodine usage. In: Iodine Prophylaxis Following Nuclear Accidents -- Proceedings of a Joint WHO/CEC Workshop, July 1988. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1990. pp 141-150.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently doing a reassessment of various recommendations on this issue, but their work is not yet published."
B&A Products website states:
"Potassium Iodate is a superior form of Potassium Iodide (KI) because of extended shelf life and lack of bitter taste. The extra molecule of oxygen in Potassium Iodate (KIO3), can guarantee the Iodate's continued freshness without adding stabilizers."
Additional research, information and sources
KI4U - Excellent in-depth FAQ
Conclusion - either Potassium Iodate (KIO3) or Potassium Iodide (KI) is fine.
FDA Approved brands of Potassium Iodide
Follow this link to read chart of "approved" brands
Only three brands of potassium iodide (KI) have been approved by the FDA for radiation exposure - IOSAT, ThyroShield and Thyrosafe. Any other brands sold for radiation exposure are not tested and approved by the FDA and are in violation of The 1997 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that states: "No person shall introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any new drug, unless an approval filed pursuant to subsection (b) or (j) of this section is effective with respect to said drug"..
To verify what brands of Potassium Iodide (or any drug) have FDA approval visit the FDA Orange Book. Type in Potassium Iodide, click on "OTC" and then "submit".
Potassium Iodate (KIO3) has not been tested and approved by the FDA for anything, let alone radiation exposure. Anyone selling this drug for radiation exposure is doing so in violation of federal law (see above). The FDA has issued warning letters to sellers and manufacturers of unapproved potassium iodide and potassium iodate. Unfortunately, the FDA's policing of this matter has waned. Many of the websites are still up and running. Some state their product is FDA approved when it isn't!
To verify that Potassium Iodate is not FDA approved, click on this link for the FDA Orange Book. Type in Potassium Iodate, click on "OTC" and then "submit". None are tested and approved by the FDA.
Potassium Iodate vs Potassium Iodide
How much Potassium Iodide should you buy?
Meanwhile, keep your thyroid in optimal health by keeping it saturated with daily iodine...
Detoxified Iodine - Iodine - PGL International, LLC - Absorbable Iodine for the Thyroid Gland
Liquid Iodine Forte 2 oz. - Biotics
SuperNutrient Corp Sea Plant Minerals, 90/850mg caps
Sea-Odine, 0.5 oz
Thyro Shield Potassium Iodide Oral Solution, Black Raspberry 1 fl oz (30 ml)
65mg Potassium Iodide per dropperful. 2 DROPS PER DAY PER ADULT OVER 60 LBS FOR 14 DAYS (TWO WEEKS).
In the event of a nuclear radiation emergency
Thyroid Blocking in a Radiation Emergency Only
65 mg potassium iodide per mL
Please Note: This is important! Be aware if you are drinking fluoridated/chlorinated water and are eating a lot of food products with bromine (such as bromiliated oils and bread with bromilated flour) These are halogens. These fluorine/fluoride and bromine/bromide halogens are blocking the iodine receptors in the thyroid gland. These must be moved out before the iodine gets in the thyroid gland. See: Iodine And The Halogen Revolution
by Dr. Brice E. Vickery
To view a map of nuclear reactor sites, click on these links.