Consider Your Alternatives to Potassium Iodide (KI) in the Event of Nuclear Exposure and the Possible Unavailability of KI

With so many people around the world and on the West Coast of the United States becoming concerned about the possibility of radiation from Japan, there has been a rush to purchase Potassium Iodide – the supplement that’s recommended to protect our thyroids from absorbing radioactive iodine.  According to sources on the Internet, most supplies of KI are depleted and people are unable to purchase it.

As an alternative, people may want to purchase Lugol’s Solution, which is a combination of pure iodine, Potassium iodide, and water.  One site that sells it is

One milliliter of Lugol’s solution contains 150 mg of iodine and iodide which is slightly more than the 130 mg of KI recommended for adults.  Also, pure iodine can be more toxic than iodide and if taken for too long can negatively affect thyroid function.  But in a radiation emergency and no source of KI available, you may want to discuss with your physician the option of taking Lugol’s solution, if radiation levels get too high.

There is another interesting option that may serve as an alternative if KI is not available when radiation levels increase.  Swabbing 8ml of 2% iodine solution on your abdomen and/or forearms.  The following research is also an option that you may want to discuss with your physician if you are caught without KI during a period of high air-born radiation:

According to research by Health Physicist Ken Miller, Hershey Medical Center, using 24 healthy adult male subjects, an adult could get a blocking dose of stable iodine by painting 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm approximately 2 hours prior to I-131 contamination. The abstract of his study titled “Effectiveness of Skin Absorption of Tincture of I in Blocking Radioiodine from the Human Thyroid Gland” from Health Physics, June 1989, Vol. 56, No. 6, pages 911-914, states:

“Although there were large variations within each subject group in regard to serum-I levels and thyroid uptakes, the increase in serum-I concentration after topical-I application was effective in reducing the thyroid uptake of I131. The authors conclude that in the absence of KI, most humans would benefit from topical application of tincture of-I, and that in some the effectiveness would equal that of oral KI.”

In an emergency, if no more KI tablets available, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protective effect (WARNING: Iodine is NEVER to be ingested or swallowed and is poison to drink).  For adults, paint 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, ideally at least 2 hours prior to initial exposure. For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml.  For children under 3 but older than a month, half again, or 2 ml. For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml (one measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don’t have a medicine dropper graduated in ml). If your iodine solution is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly. Absorption through the skin is not as exact a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show that it will still be very effective for most. Do not use if allergic to iodine. There are also a few other medical conditions and medications that are contraindicated that your physician can best advise you about.

Inquire with your doctor NOW if there is any reason why anybody in your household should not use Potassium Iodide (KI), or iodine solutions topically applied on their skin, in a future nuclear emergency, just to be sure. (The preceding paragraph was taken from the website).

For more on foods and supplements to eliminate or include in an anti-radiation diet to avoid potential cancers from radiation exposure:  /radiation-and-cancer-what-potassium-iodide-does-not-protect

Related Articles:  What Potassium Iodide Does Not Protect

What to Do if You Are Exposed to Radiation

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