(ANSA) – ROME, MARCH 07 – The attack on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia has triggered in several countries, including Italy, a run in pharmacies in search of potassium iodide (KI) tablets, a compound used as a drug against hyperthyroidism and as a protective factor in case of radiation emissions. But the recommendation is to avoid DIY.
Potassium iodide “should only be taken on the advice of public health managers or those who manage the emergency” as taking potassium iodide can lead to health risks “, note the American Centers for Health. disease prevention and control (CDC).
It is very important to take it in “appropriate doses and not as a preventive in the absence of radioactivity”, notes Sebastiano Venturi, a public health expert who worked in the hygiene and prevention service of the Rimini Local Health Authority. Venturi and author of a research on this. theme published in 2020 in the Human Evolution magazine. “Important factors, such as age, disease, pregnancy or breastfeeding, must also be considered”.
Used following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, it is a stable iodine salt, i.e. non-radioactive, capable of blocking the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid.
“In reality, iodine only protects against radioactive iodine, particularly iodine 131, but not other radionuclides emitted in nuclear accidents, such as cesium and strontium,” notes Venturi. “Potassium iodide must be taken before radioactive iodine is ingested, or in the very first few hours,” he notes. Recent research, he concludes, indicates that this compound “is not only useful for preventing thyroid damage, but is important for the whole body, particularly for the stomach, breast, brain, immune system, bone marrow, retina”.
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