Richard Essex/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis – Scientists say there's a possibility that radiation from Japan's troubled nuclear reactor could make its way to the west coast of the United States. That's causing some Americans to look for a preventative medicine against radiation.
But medical experts say people in Indiana should not be concerned.
Potassium iodide tablets are intended to be used by people that are going into an area that is contaminated, not by those thousands of miles away.
“We had it in our shelves by two different companies and as soon as they day after the earthquake, we were bought out,” said Rudy Nehrling, the good Earth Natural Foods.
Nehrling's store usually has ample supply of potassium iodide was bought up within a day.
“Definitely. We have gotten at least 20-25 calls a day, every day, since the earthquake in Japan, mainly for the potassium iodide. Some people are asking our advice, 'Do we have any other ideas for radiation prevention,' things of that sort,” he said.
The fear of waves of radiation making it to the states has customers lining up. The only product left on their shelves is a liquid form.
“We got a list of people that are in line to get it when we get it in,” said Nehrling.
So why the rush on these products? The radioactive fallout from nuclear power plants can attack the thyroid.
“By giving the body a stable iodine product, we kind of trick the body and the body will fill up with this stable iodine that is not going to be harmful to the thyroid,” said Amy Peak PharmD, director of Drug Information Services at Butler University.
Peak says any form of potassium iodide is not necessary.
“It is advisable if there is radiation exposure in your immediate area only, so there would be zero reason for anyone in Indiana to be feeling the need to consume iodine right now,” she said.
She says the only people that should take or have a stockpile of iodide products are those in an area close to a nuclear power plant.
“You really have no need for iodine in your home, on your person, if you are living in central Indiana, so it is okay,” Peak said.
The wait for iodide in Indianapolis is expected to be weeks. instead of buying the tablets, experts say those looking to buy should instead send their money to relief efforts. They also say the best use of the iodide for those who have already purchased some is to send it to the people of Japan, who really need it at this time.