Saturday, March 19, 2011

Radiation Panic at Home

Today's word is Fear.

As you all know, Japan is dealing with the horror of impending nuclear meltdown at the Daiichi plant in Fuchushima. The news is filled with stories of the brave volunteer firefighters who are risking their lives to keep it under control.

Another story involves radiation poisoning, who is at risk, and what can be done. Clearly, many Japanese are in danger.

However, it appears Americans here at home are concerned for their safety as well. And not just on the West coast. Understand that Tokyo is 5478 miles from Los Angeles. Now, think about this. I heard a news story this morning about the town where I grew up, Fort Walton Beach. Apparently, the shelves in all of the health food and vitamin stores they checked were empty of potassium iodide. This is supposed to protect you from radiation poisoning in some way. By the way, Fort Walton Beach is on the Gulf Coast of Florida, 1870 miles from Los Angeles.

I got curious. So I did some calling around near where I live now, 40 miles West of FWB. I got through to a couple of major stores in Pensacola - sold out. I called a smaller establishment and they were sold out too. When I told the lady I wasn't interested in the supplement for myself, but that I was writing a little article, she told me that we weren't being told everything by our government about radiation exposure and we had another two to two and a half months of exposure yet to deal with. She recommended these potassium iodide supplements for pregnant women and children. (Please understand that I am not making any such recommendation. I believe a doctor's advice should be sought before taking anything like this especially if you are pregnant, or if you intend to give it to a child.)

Another lady I spoke with said these could be dangerous if taken too much, that Iodine isn't something you want to keep introducing to your system.

I'm sure this isn't the only item people are stocking up on. The question is, are they being paranoid, or is it possible, somehow, that we could be affected by this disaster?

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