for Radioactive Fallout
W. Miller, Jr., MD
March 19, 2011
from a nuclear bomb explosion or a nuclear power plant meltdown is
full of radioactive iodine-131 (I-131). Nuclear fission splits the
nuclei of uranium-235 and plutonium-239, producing I-131. The stable,
natural isotope of iodine is iodine-127. Iodine is the largest and
heaviest element of the 25 elements that make up the human body.
plays a number of important roles in the body. The thyroid gland uses
it to make thyroxine, with 4 iodine atoms, and triiodothyronine (T3),
with three. The active form, T3, regulates metabolism, thermogenesis,
and protein synthesis. Other tissues and glands require iodine to
function normally, including stomach mucosa, mammary glands, ovaries,
salivary glands, prostrate, and the thymus gland. Iodine functions
as an antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, and suppresses autoimmunity.
And it triggers apoptosis, destroying cells that become cancerous
and cells infected with viruses. Iodine also removes toxic chemicals
from the body fluoride, bromide, lead, aluminum, and mercury.
Iodine is essential for health. (For more on iodines health
benefits see HERE.)
I-131 emits Beta electrons and gamma rays, which destroy cells and
cause cancer. People living downwind from a nuclear bomb explosion
or power plant meltdown can inhale or ingest radioactive fallout,
or have it come in contact with skin. The I-131 in fallout "dust"
can damage the thyroid gland and cause it to become cancerous. Other
tissues and glands in the body that concentrate iodine are also at
risk, notably womens breasts. The most common sequel from exposure
to radioactive fallout is thyroid cancer.
in a sufficient amount, natural iodine can block uptake of radioactive
I-131 in fallout and prevent thyroid cancer. The U.S. governments
Department of Health and Human Services has approved potassium iodide
(KI), in a dose of 130 milligrams (mg), as a thyroid blocking agent
in radiation emergencies. This dose contains 100 mg of iodine, as
iodide, in its salt form. But it doesnt have to be KI. Lugols
solution, Iodoral, SSKI (super saturated potassium iodide), and Nascent
iodine work just as well.
solution and Iodoral tablets are one-third elemental iodine (I2) and
two-thirds potassium iodide. One drop of full-strength, 5% Lugols
solution has 6.3 mg of iodine. But now, by FDA edict, Lugols
solution sold in quantities greater than 1 oz. can be no more than
a 2% strength, where one drop has 2.5 mg of iodine. For a 100 mg-dose
of iodine, one has to take 15 drops of the 5% solution or 40 drops
of the 2% solution. Iodoral tablets are also one-third elemental iodine
(I2) and two-thirds potassium iodide. There is 12.5 mg of iodine in
each tablet, so 8 of them constitute a 100 mg dose. Iodoral containing
50 mg of iodine per tablet is now available (see HERE). Lugols/Iodoral
is better than KI for blocking uptake of I-131 because the mammary
glands in the breast like elemental iodine best and thus can better
protect the breast against the harmful effects of radioactive iodine
than can potassium iodide, which does not have any elemental iodine.
also works. Depending on the saturation (which varies), 3 to 5 drops
of SSKI contain 100 mg of iodine. With Nascent iodine, 10 drops have
4 mg of iodine so one would have to measure out 250 drops to get 100
mg of iodine.
order to be effective in blocking I-131 uptake, the 100 mg dose
of iodine needs to be taken in a window of 24 hours before and 2 hours
after exposure to fallout (Health Physics 2000;78:660667).
an average of 240 micrograms (mcg) of iodine a day, most Americans
have an insufficient amount of iodine stored in their bodies. The
conventional view is that the body contains 2550 mg of iodine,
and 7080 percent of that amount resides in the thyroid gland.
But as doctors in "The Iodine Project" have shown (see HERE),
whole body sufficiency of iodine is 30 times greater than that
1,500 mg with only 3 percent of that amount residing in the
thyroid gland. A person needs to take 50 mg of iodine a day for 3
months, or 12.5 mg a day for 1 year, and continue that dose, in order
to achieve whole body sufficiency of iodine. Once achieved, people
who take 12.5 mg or more of iodine a day are already well protected
against radioactive iodine in fallout. The thyroid glands in such
people will retain less than 2 percent of absorbed I-131, similar
to that after consuming a 130 mg KI tablet (in the appropriate time
this is the case with the Japanese. People in Japan eat a lot of seaweed,
which protects them against the deleterious effects of I-131 in radioactive
fallout from the meltdown of their Fukushima Dalichi nuclear plants.
Compared to terrestrial plants, which contain only trace amounts of
iodine (0.001 mg/gm), the seaweed that the Japanese consume
brown algai (kelp), red algae (nori sheets, with sushi), and green
algae (chlorella) have a high concentration of this nutrient
(0.58.0 mg/gm). According to public health officials there,
people in Japan consume 14.5 gm of seaweed a day. They dont
need to take potassium iodide tablets for fallout. They consume enough
iodine in the seaweed they eat.
are news reports that radiation fear has sparked panic buying of iodized
salt in China. The iodine content in one teaspoon of iodized salt
is 400 mcg. To get 100 mg of iodine this way would require eating
250 tsp of salt. But then, the much higher concentrations of chloride
in salt (NaCl) inhibits absorption of its sister halogen iodine, such
that the intestines will absorb only 10 percent of the iodine present
in iodized table salt, so one would actually need to eat 2,500 tsp
of iodized salt to get 100 mg of iodine.
fears growing that fallout from the Fukushima Dalichi nuclear plants
might hit the U.S. West Coast the price of iodine supplements has
skyrocketed. A $6 box of potassium iodide tablets at some outlets
is now being sold for several hundred dollars a box. On Amazon.com,
Iodoral tablets normally priced at less than $20 are now going, as
I write this, for $89.99 (with "only 5 left in stock").
most unlikely that radioactive fallout of any significance from the
Fukushima reactors meltdown in Japan will reach the U.S. West
Coast. Save your money. If the worst should happen and you dont
have an oral source of iodine, buy some 2 percent tincture of iodine
or betadine and put it on your skin (dont drink it!). It
works almost as well. Painting iodine on the abdomen in a 4 x 8 inch
patch blocks thyroidal radioiodine uptake by 95 to 99 percent, almost
the same as KI.
the crisis has passed and the prices of iodine supplements come down,
I recommend that if you dont like to eat seaweed start taking
two drops of (5%) Lugols solution 5 drops of a 2% solution
or one Iodoral tablet a day. The health benefits people experience
with milligram doses of iodine, at 100 times the governments
RDA for iodine (150 mcg a day) is having increased energy, a sense
of well-being, and lifting of brain fog. They feel warmer in cold
climates, need 30 minutes to an hour less sleep, have regular bowel
movements, improved skin complexion, a strengthened immune system,
and a reduced risk of cancer.
exposed to radioactive fallout, in addition to iodine, one also should
have a radiation detector, like the nukalert which monitors and measures
the intensity of the radiation and the time to 100 rad exposure (=
100 rem = 1 Sievert = 1 Grey).
have made 37 isotopes of iodine. Most of them disappear in seconds
or minutes. Three of them, I-123, 124, and 125, with half-lives varying
from 13 hours to 60 days, are made in a cyclotron. Physicians use
them for diagnostic purposes. I-125 is also used in brachytherapy
for prostrate cancer, where urologists inject seeds containing this
radioactive isotope to kill the cancer. I-131 is the only iodine isotope
that is made by nuclear fission. Doctors use I-131 to treat hyperthyroidism
and to burn out existing thyroid cancers and for Hodgkins lymphoma.
It has a half-life of 8 days.
(April 26, 1986), until now, has been the only accident in the history
of commercial nuclear power where radiation-related fatalities have
occurred. The steam explosion and fire in this reactor, uncontained
and lacking an emergency core-cooling system, released 5 percent of
the reactors radioactive core into the atmosphere. Some 134
employees developed acute radiation sickness and 28 died from it.
No increase in cancer incidence or mortality has been observed attributable
to the ionizing radiation it released. Thyroid cancer is another matter.
The explosion spread significant amounts of I-131, raising the incidence
of thyroid cancer in children in the Ukraine from 0.7 per million
to 4 per million. Dr. Arthur Robinson reckons that only 70 extra cases
of thyroid cancer have arisen in children living near Chernobyl as
a result of the accident, and these cancers could have been prevented
had the Ukrainian authorities provided these children with iodine.
Mile Island (March 28, 1979), a partial core meltdown was largely
contained within the reactor building. No deaths resulted from the
accident, and the amount of radiation released into the environment
was the equivalent of a single chest X-ray for people living within
ten miles of the reactor.
effects of Iodine. Allergies, swelling of the salivary glands
and thyroid, and iodism (an unpleasant brassy taste, runny nose, and
acne-like skin lesions) occur rarely, in less than 1 percent. Iodism
is caused by the bromide that iodine extracts from the tissues, and
it subsides on a lesser dose of iodine. Thyroid function remains unchanged
on doses up to 100 mg a day in 99 percent of people.
Donald Miller (send him mail) is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of
Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles
on a variety of subjects for LewRockwell.com.
His web site is www.donaldmiller.com
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com.
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