Monday, March 14, 2011

Thyroid protection due to nuclear accidents and emergencies

SSKI may be used in radioiodine-contamination emergencies (i.e., nuclear accidents) to "block" the thyroid's uptake of radioiodine (this is not the same as blocking the thyroid's release of thyroid hormone).
Potassium iodide was approved in 1982 by the US FDA to protect the thyroid glands from radioactive iodine from accidents or fission emergencies. In the event of an accident or attack at a nuclear power plant, or fallout from a nuclear bomb, volatile fission product radionuclides may be released, of which 131I is one of the most common by-products and a particularly dangerous one due to thyroid gland concentration of it, which may lead to thyroid cancer. By saturating the body with a source of stable iodide prior to exposure, inhaled or ingested 131I tends to be excreted.
Potassium iodide cannot protect against any other causes of radiation poisoning, nor can it provide any degree of protection against dirty bombs that produce radionuclides other than isotopes of iodine. See fission products and the external links for more details concerning radionuclides.

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