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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Iodine & Japanese Radiation Fallout

Last Saturday, Japanese authorities told the U.N.'s atomic watchdog they were making preparations to distribute potassium iodide pills to people living near nuclear power plants affected by Friday's earthquake.

After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, thousands of cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident.

Dr. Grout’s Comment:

An unknown amount of radiation from damaged nuclear reactors in Japan is expected to travel via air currents to other parts of the world. In the next three to ten days, the initial release of radiation could fall over the United States.

As of today, officials in Japan and the World Health Organization have described the public health risk still as "quite low." However, experience suggests that all the facts may not be known at this time.

After a nuclear event, radioactive iodine is released into the air and the Japanese government has distributed iodine pills to protect those nearby who may be exposed. But we may all be exposed, depending how the radioactive fallout moves across the planet, and how big the events at the nuclear reactor turn out to be.

Uranium-235 powers a nuclear reactor. When it is released and decays, it breaks down into smaller elements. One of these elements is iodine-131. It is a radioactive form of iodine. When radioactive iodine comes into contact with the human body, it goes to the thyroid gland and then travels throughout the body. Over time, this emission can lead to cancer or leukemia.

SSKI – saturated solution of potassium iodide – is sold as a clear liquid and as a tablet. The effectiveness of SSKI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established in the medical literature. It has a long history of being used after radioiodine-contamination emergencies – nuclear power plant disasters. If there is enough inorganic, non-radioactive iodine in our bodies, the radioactive fallout has nowhere to bind in our bodies. It will pass through, unharmed.

Lugol’s solution is a combination of both iodide and iodine. Elemental iodine is used as a disinfectant in various forms. Iodine protects us against autoimmune diseases and is responsible for destroying abnormal cells and minimizing allergies. It is also required for the immune system to be strong. Some women have been able to eliminate a very early stage breast cancer, for example, by painting their breast with iodine.

I am recommending 4-5 drops of Lugol’s solution daily for the next 7-10 days as a protective action against the events in Japan to date. This would be a dose of 25-30 mg. People could also take iodine pills – 20-25 mg would be a good dose. We have the Lugol’s solution at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, if patients wish to get it. Call us at 480-240-2600.


  1. Aren't you pandering to panic-mongers by suggesting people purchase and consume something that isn't necessary, and might even be unhealthful? How irresponsible!

  2. Thank you for the information!

  3. Jonathan Murphy MDJuly 24, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    How insidious is low grade radiation exposure? It seems as though the levels of uranium in the RBCs and provoked urine specimans of Arizonans are much higher than I ever detected in patients in Ohio and West Virginia. Whatever goes on in Japan isn't going to stay there and I pray there will be complete containment of radioactive releases there, but since it hasn't happened yet and since I don't use a Geiger counter on my food, I believe it is good preventative clinical judgement to recommend a few drops of Lugol's solution to prevent thyroid cancer and leukemia. This is in no way unhealthful and is completely safe. We have examined children from Chernobyl in West Virginia and a non radioactive form of iodine is a daily supplement for them, in order to prevent thyroid uptake of the radioactive forms of iodine from their environment. Come to think of it maybe I should be checking the pacific salmon I enjoy for levels of radioactivity.