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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Radiation risks to health: A joint statement from leading scientific experts

Radiation risks to health: A joint statement from leading scientific experts

ScienceDaily (Mar. 20, 2011) — The growing concern surrounding the release of radiation from an earthquake and tsunami-stricken nuclear complex in Japan has raised fears of radiation exposure to populations in North America from the potential plume of radioactivity crossing the Pacific Ocean. To help Americans understand their radiation-related health risks, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), the American Thyroid Association (ATA), The Endocrine Society and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) issued a joint statement [full text of statement].

The statement suggests that the principal radiation source of concern, in regard to impact on health, is radioactive iodine including iodine-131.This presents a special risk to health because exposure of the thyroid to high levels may lead to development of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer years later.

Radioactive iodine uptake to the thyroid can be blocked by taking potassium iodide (KI) pills. However the statement cautions KI should not be taken unless there is a clear risk of exposure to high levels of radioactive iodine. While some radiation may be detected in the United States as a result of the nuclear reactor accident in Japan, current estimates indicate radiation levels will not be harmful to the thyroid gland or general health. If radiation levels did warrant the use of KI, the statement recommends it should be taken as directed by physicians or public health authorities until the risk for significant exposure dissipates….

The complete statement is here

Related Items

Harmful Health Effects of Nuclear Radiation Exposure: Resources for Prevention
This Web site contains links to seven reports and books on how to mitigate the harmful health effects of radiation exposure, including the distribution of potassium iodide tablets. They are available to read free on the National Academies Press Web site.
[From the Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness]

FDA Works to Ensure Safety of Products Imported from Japan
FDA is closely monitoring the situation in Japan and is working with the Japanese government and other U.S. agencies to continue to ensure that imported food remains safe.


March 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment


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