Recently, more states have reported detecting trace amounts of iodine-131, the substance whose harmful effects are countered by potassium iodide.  In addition to Hawaii, Washington and California, monitors in Colorado and Oregon recently showed higher than normal readings.

It is extremely important to state that the levels reported are not harmful to humans.  In fact, “Americans typically get exposure to radiation from natural sources such as the sun, bricks and rocks that are about 100,000 times higher than what has been detected in the United States” according to an article on CNN today. 

Experts do not foresee any harmful effects coming to the West Coast as a result of the tragic event in Japan.  As officials continue to question the extent to which the radiation emitted from the Fukushima plant will impact Japan and neighboring countries, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have posted reminders about the proper use of Potassium iodide (KI).  It should only be taken under the advisement of emergency management officials, public health officials or a doctor. Because there are possible health risks associated with taking KI, individuals who think they have been exposed (or could be exposed to radiation) should seek proper guidance from a qualified source.

Photo by Konabish.

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