In a real life saga that seems to never end, workers fled from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power Monday March 21, 2011 as smoke rose from two reactors. In a separate action the United States made Potassium Iodide pills available to U.S. personnel and dependents in Japan.
These two events while separate certainly have an intersection. The intersection is the radiation coming from the damaged nuclear power plant and the potential harmful effects it could have on those exposed to it. An article titled “Workers flee Japan nuclear plant as smoke rises” by Eric Talmadge and Mari Yamaguchi March 21, 2011 and published on Yahoo.com details a setback in efforts to brink the nuclear reactors under control as workers fled the Fukushima Dia-ichi nuclear power plant as smoke rose from two reactors.
Another separate article titled “U.S. makes potassium iodide available in Japan” by Arshad Mohammed and published on the Reuter website details the U.S. decision to make potassium iodide available to its personnel and dependents in certain parts of Japan.
One of the radioactive elements released into the environment from the nuclear power plant in Japan is radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine has been detected in the environment in Japan. The human thyroid, that regulates growth, will absorb iodine and can’t tell the difference between radioactive iodine and nonradioactive iodine. Iodine is needed in order for the thyroid to function properly. When you see the label of “iodized” on table salt it means that small amounts of iodine containing salts have been mixed with regular salt to help prevent iodine deficiency. The thyroid will absorb radioactive iodine and that is where potassium iodide comes in as a blocker. The thyroid will absorb the potassium iodide and become full. If the thyroid is full it will not absorb radioactive iodine.
Radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid can cause thyroid cancer. There are many issues taking place in Japan and the longer it goes on, it seems the more serious things become.