What the Experts Say

US Food and Drug Administration

    “The FDA recommends potassium iodide (KI) … for thyroid blocking in radiation emergencies. … KI can be used to provide safe and effective protection against thyroid cancer caused by irradiation … The known potential for potassium iodide to cause serious side effects in a small sensitive population is not sufficient grounds from which to continue to conclude, or even suggest, a significant and quantifiable proportion of serious reactions.”
    [Federal Register, December 15, 1978; FDA: “Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies”, December, 2000.]

National Council on Radiation Protection

    “Radioiodines are the primary internal radiation hazard during the first few weeks after atomic bomb fallout … [E]ffects from other radioactive materials are considered relatively minor…”

    [NCRP: Reports 42 and 55, New York Times, June 13, 2002.]

American Thyroid Association

    “It is essential that, one way or another, KI be available to protect the public, especially children, in the event of a nuclear accident or act of nuclear terrorism…[T]he United States, virtually alone among developed nations, has failed to apply the principal lesson learned from Chernobyl.”
    [ATA: Statement of November 7, 2001]

American Academy of Pediatrics
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    “KI can be 100% effective in preventing radiation-induced effects, including thyroid cancer…[I]t should be kept in homes, schools, and day care centers…[Those] at risk should receive KI before exposure, if possible, or immediately afterward.”

    [American Academy of Pediatrics, News Release, May 19, 2003; Pediatrics, 2003]

National Academy of Sciences

    “Potassium iodide pills should be available to everyone age 40 or younger…living near a nuclear power plant…Federal agencies should keep a backup supply and be prepared to distribute it to affected areas in the event of a nuclear incident… The US government should… help states implement plans for distributing potassium iodide.”

    [US National Academy of Sciences: Distribution of Potassium Iodide in the event of a Nuclear Accident; National Research Council, 2004]

World Health Organization

    “Excess thyroid cancer in children…from Chernobyl has been established… The increase has been documented up to 500km from the accident site…the Chernobyl accident has demonstrated that significant doses from radioactive iodine can occur hundreds of kilometers beyond (ten-mile) emergency planning zones… [Cancer risk] can be reduced or prevented by implementation of iodine prophylaxis.”

    [WHO: Guidelines for Iodine Prophylaxis Following Nuclear Accidents; Update 1999. Geneva]

United Nations Report: Chernobyl, A Continuing Catastrophe
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    “It is 14 years since the accident, and yet the most may still come… The number of people with thyroid cancer began to increase about 5 years after the accident. This number continues to rise… The number of cases has exceeded expectations. Over 11,000 cases of thyroid cancer have already been reported.”

    [United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): Chernobyl, A Continuing Catastrophe, 2000]

Center for Disease Control

    “FDA recommends that KI be taken as soon as the radioactive cloud containing iodine from the explosion [nuclear fission weapon] is close by. KI may still have some protective even if taken 3 to 4 hours after exposure to radioactive iodine…[one] dose should be taken every 24 hours.”

Report to the President on the Accident at Three Mile Island
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    “An adequate supply of the radiation protective (thyroid blocking) agent, potassium iodide for human use should be available regionally for distribution to the general population and workers affected by a radiological emergency.”

    [Report of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, John Kemeny, Chairman.