Potassium Iodide pills see spike in price as Americans fear nuclear war with Russia

Large manufacturers of potassium iodide in the nation have seen stocks decreasing in weeks. This fall in inventory has taken place, late February, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Americans are reportedly afraid of a nuclear fallout. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that potassium iodide may be useful to combat radioactive iodine. However, it has health risks and indiscriminate use is not recommended.

The CDC says that potassium iodide, with the chemical formula KI, is a salt of stable iodine. It can block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland. This will protect the butterfly shaped gland in the throat from injury due to radiation. The CDC also mentions that this gland is “the most sensitive to radioactive iodine.”

However, the CDC also cautions that “people should only take KI (potassium iodide) on the advice of public health or emergency management officials.” The agency also says that extra doses do not offer extra protection and instead can “cause severe illness or death. The CDC also says that it doesn’t have much effect on those who are over forty.

The thyroid may be the least among the worries that would be expected, if there is an accidental nuclear explosion. Nuclear radiation can cause cancers and will contaminate the soil and water for several years.

Panic buying of diapers and other items took place during the pandemic and now as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues there is a type of hoarding of potassium iodide pills and other items.

IOSAT, a pharmaceutical company which manufactures KI pills, said that its $14 packs are totally sold out. However, the same tablets are available on eBay for ten times or more than the original price. The company said that they would be restocking the pills after midMarch.

Earlier panic buying of KI tablets in 2011 resulted in Whole Foods erecting signs to warn people that taking extra pills was harmful. This panic buying trend was seen when there was an earthquake followed by a tsunami in Japan and its Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered damages as a result of these natural disasters.


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