Does Iodine Combat Radiation?

DETROIT (WWJ) – As authorities race to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan some people are wondering how effective iodine tablets are in combating exposure to radiation?  WWJ’s Terri Lee has some answers.

Dr. Steve McGraw, an Emergency Room Physician at Providence Hospital in Southfield, says it would be worth taking an iodine tablet, but cautions:

“Potassium Iodine really only protects against damage to one gland in your body which is your thyroid gland, which is appreciably damaged by radiation, but only from radioactive iodine, which is a byproduct of the material as it goes through the nuclear process,” says McGraw. 

The real key, he says, is limiting exposure to radiation and decontaminating the environment from a distance.

As an emergency room physician himself, McGraw says he can’t help but feel for his colleagues on the other side of the world.

“To suggest that they are truly up against it is a colossal understatement and our thoughts and prayers are with all of them,” says McGraw.


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