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Residents worried about radiation from Japan seek potassium iodide tablets

SAN DIEGO — reports that the nuclear problems in Japan have some Californians worried about radiation leaking from damaged plants and impacting residents.
In response to reports, many are in a rush to buy potassium iodide supplements that are used to block radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid gland.
Local stores such as Burns Drugs in La Jolla said they have received dozens of calls for the supplements but don’t have any in stock.
According to doctors, potassium iodide is most helpful to children and pregnant women who have been exposed to radiation and it is not reported to be very helpful to those older than 40.
Doctors warn against taking the supplement because it decreases the amount of thyroid hormone your body makes.
“It can decrease your heart rate, and you can have a heart attack,” said Dr. Sherry Franklin, a thyroid specialist with the San Diego Medical Society. “There are also people who are deathly allergic to iodide.”
According to officials there is currently no risk of Japan’s radiation spreading to the U.S.

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