Iodine can help prevent cancers caused by exposure to radiation from a nuclear power plant. It helps prevent absorption of radioactive iodine by the body. Iodine will not have any effect in the American continents due the small amount of radiation that has reached the this area. Here’s why.
The reactions of the nuclear power plant release a great amount of energy. Besides producing radioactive uranium or plutonium, small amounts of other elements are also created by the plant. The elements that are created are those close to the uranium or plutonium in that they have nearly the same amount of electrons and protons as these elements. Iodine is one of these elements. So, one of the elements that is also released during radioactive meltdowns is always a small amount of radioactive iodine.
For those up close to the plant they will absorb this iodine. Iodine is used by the thyroid gland in the neck. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control your bodies energy level and needs a constant new supply of iodine. Persons will low levels of iodine often have a visible goiter on their neck. Because the body constantly needs iodine, it is very efficient at picking up this element from the environment. Children are the most efficient at picking up iodine since they have higher activity levels than adults. Those exposed to radioactive iodine will absorb this iodine unless they have no need for iodine. Exposure to radioactive iodine can lead to cancer of the thyroid and other body areas due to the radiation in the iodine.
This leads to taking the iodine pills. If your body has an adequate supply of iodine, it will not need to absorb any from the surrounding environment. So, anyone near or in the exposure area will be told to take iodine to prevent exposure to radiated iodine. Iodine can cause damage to the body if you take too much and can sometimes interact with other medicines. If you need to take iodine you should contact your doctor about the proper dose. Normally there is no problem taken extra iodine for a limited time to protect yourself as long as you follow your doctor’s directions.
The radioactive iodine is a small amount of the radioactive elements released and will not reach the Americas in any measurable amount. It is not a bad thing to have in an emergency kit in case of exposure, but iodine is not needed by anyone outside of Japan at this time. Further information can be fo und at www.webmd.com.
The other risk with radioactive iodine is that other animals and plants can absorb this element like we humans do. So you need to refrain from eating any crops or animals from the radiated areas. Most of the deaths from Russia’s Chernobyl plant disaster were actually due to radiation consumed in food. You should also take assurance from the fact that all imports from Japan continue to be checked for radiation levels.