Why do they give those iodine tablets to people?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland found in the neck near the Adam’s Apple lying against and around the larynx and trachea. It regulates metabolism, physical growth rate, and brain development.
The thyroid can’t distinguish between regular iodine and radioactive iodine
(I-131). The idea is to fill up the thyroid gland with regular good iodine from tablets, and then the thyroid can’t take in much of the bad radioactive iodine. That’s the concept of protection.
Children and unborn babies are the most vulnerable because the cells in their bodies are dividing much faster than adults. There has been a run on potassium iodide pills in Japan. Also along the west coast of the United States.
It may be a good idea to issue iodine tablets in Japan, but not in the United States. The amount of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors that could possibly reach the United States is so low it can barely be measured. Buying potassium iodide tablets in the United States is not a reasonable act. Yet, we see reports of people stocking up on potassium iodide pills along the west coast of the United States.
And there are side effects from potassium iodide that can be serious, including damage to the salivary glands, allergic reactions, and really bad stomach upsets.
Iodide pills do not prevent other cancers. After the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan that ended WWII, numerous children developed leukemia. Iodide pills will not protect other organs in the body.
Iodine pills have to be taken before or immediately after exposure to be any good. After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, authorities waited too long, over a week, before issuing iodide pills. They did more harm than good. Radioactive iodide got locked in people’s thyroid.
In some parts of the world, where iodine is lacking, the thyroid gland can become enlarged and a person has a goiter. A goiter is an enlarged swelling of the thyroid and often appears as a large growth in the neck area.
As youngsters in that one room country school in the hill country of Crawford County, we were given a purple “goiter pill” every Friday. The soil around the Great Lakes region does not contain much iodide.
The Morton Salt Company started putting iodine in salt as early as 1924. These days edible salt is sprayed with potassium iodide for as little as one dollar per ton. We get plenty of iodine from our food stuffs, especially from the salt. Restaurants and processed foods in grocery stores are loaded with salt.
By the way, children born in the 1950’s and early 1960’s have elevated levels of Strontium-90 in their bones and teeth. The United States and Soviet Union together tested 422 nuclear bombs in the atmosphere during that period. Much of that radioactive material went high in the atmosphere, circling the Earth several times via the jet stream and finally settling down in fields. Cows ate the grass, kids drank the milk, and the Sr-90 (strontium-90 settled in the bones and teeth. Thankfully, the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty put an end to most atmospheric bomb tests.