Government protection might do more harm than good in regards to giving out iodide pills, says a recent CNN article. The government wants to give out these pills to those who work or live within a 20-mile radius of U.S. nuclear power plants because of the recent nuclear disaster in Japan.
Rep. Ed Markey believes that potassium iron pills should available in schools, hospitals and other locations within that 20-mile radius. Markey told CNN, “American children should be protected in the event of another nuclear meltdown here on U.S. soil.”
Of this proposal Dr. James Cox, a radiation oncologist at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center said it was "a well-intentioned but bad idea." Cox said that there are more side effects than benefits. These pills might be worse than the low doses of radiation from U.S nuclear power plants.
Potassium Iodide blocks radioactive iodide isotopes from being absorbed. This reduces the risks of citizens getting cancer from exposure. Children are especially at risk since they have a higher risk of thyroid cancer.
Cox fears that if iodide pills are accessible then people will take it without a valid reason due to fear of exposure. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University said, "Americans shouldn't take potassium iodide now because Americans are not, at the moment at risk, so they should not take it now. This should not be an advisory for people to go out and stockpile potassium iodide themselves necessarily."