Nero, Rome, Potassium Iodide and All That
But no. Two California officials state they don't think sstocking up on potassium iodide (KI) is a necessary nor necessarily good idea. And then U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin turns around and says it's a worthy precaution.
What's a poor West Coaster to do? To think?
First of all the only thing the KI will do is protect the thyroid from radioiodine. That is probably the least dangerous thing that will come out of those reactors if they go into full meltdown. Some of the will also release cesium, uranium 232, plutonium and a whole bunch of other things that, should exposure in significant doses occur, will make you wish all you had to worry about was KI.
But meanwhile, taking the potassium iodide carries with it a host of potential nasty side affects. The kind that will put you off your feed just reading about them. Goiters. Acne. Nausea and vomitting. Fever. Mouth sores. Skin rash. Stomach pains. Irregular heartbeat. Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet. Metallic taste in the mouth.
So, if it were me I wouldn't be panicking and stockpiling it (one retailer sold 6,000 bottles over the weekend when he usually sells 60 in a week). And taking it now for no reason with all that to look forward to? I don't think so. I might feel different if I lived in Seattle or Portland or Los Angeles. And I certainly wouldn't advise someone who lives near a reactor, or anyone who might be in the path of this (if, indeed, it comes this far) from keeping some KI on hand.
But the Administration's response to all this, along with the SG's recommendation today, along with the government of Japan not having THEIR story straight (granted, they have their hands full enough I understand that so get someone, just one person, to act as media point on these releases) and the American press getting stupid about are our plants safe what if this happens at one of our plants what if this crosses the Pacific how high is the likelihood don't you think it's higher than that etc. causing otherwise (Semi)rational people to run around like ninnies because the sky might be falling (psst -- it's probably just a bird shitting on your shoulder). And at the same time Libya has gone to page 2, unrest in Egypt (still) and elsewhere is nearly a footnote or sidebar item. Israelis have stopped ships bound for Egypt with arms and for Gaza with Iranian arms.
Look, I'm no nuclear physicist. I never served on a nuclear sub. I'm not even Jimmy Carter.
But if you live in Topeka or St. Louis and really feel the need, then instead of buying 4 or 5 or a dozen bottles of KI (which goes for about $20 a pop depending on where you get it) why not just get 1 or maybe 2 bottle and use the rest of the money for something you may really need? Like ammo for when the Jihad comes. Or better still donate it to the relief efforts in Japan right now where they are dealing with sleeping in the open in sub freezing temperatures, have no food or water available?
And for heaven's sake, Mr President, the WORLD is melting down around you so put down the clubs and sit the fuck down at your desk for awhile.
Anyway, here's what set off this incoherent rant:
Surgeon General: Buying Iodide a "Precaution"
Conflicting messages appear in the effort to buy iodide tablets
By LORI PREUITT
The fear that a nuclear cloud could float from the shores of Japan to the shores of California has some people making a run on iodine tablets. Pharmacists across California report being flooded with requests.
State and county officials spent much of Tuesday trying to keep people calm by saying that getting the pills wasn't necessary, but then the United States surgeon general supported the idea as a worthy "precaution."
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn't aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared.
On the other side of the issue is Kelly Huston of the California Emergency Management Agency. Huston said state officials, along with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission, were monitoring the situation and said people don't need to buy the pills.
"Even if we had a radiation release from Diablo Canyon (in San Luis Obispo County), iodide would only be issued to people living within a 10-mile radius of the plant," Huston added.
"There is no reason for doing it," Fenstersheib told the paper.
Either way, the pills are hard to get. eBay prices have skyrocketed.