Finland Tells Citizens "Stock Iodine Pills" in case of "Radiation Emergency"

Fears of _actual_ nuclear war continue to grow over the Russia-Ukraine situation.  The latest example is Finland's Ministry of Health which, today, told citizens to stock up on Iodine pills "in case of radiation emergency."

The ministry presented the new recommendation at a media event on Tuesday.

The ministry said the recommendation was limited to people 3-40 years of age because of the potential risk radiation exposure poses to that age group.

The release of radioactive iodine from a nuclear incident into the environment, could build up in the thyroid gland. This is most harmful to children, who are at greater risk of developing thyroid cancer due to large doses of radiation," the ministry's statement read.

The statement noted that in case of such an emergency, sheltering indoors was the main way for people to protect themselves from hazardous radiation.

The ministry also noted that a single iodine tablet dose usually provides sufficient protection. It added that iodine rarely causes side effects, but that individuals who have thyroid conditions should use the substance with caution.

The recommended single dose for 12-40 year-olds in a dangerous radiation situation is 130 milligrams of potassium iodide. Children over 3 years of age are recommended to take half of that dose.

The ministry said that there are no iodine products suitable — nor available in Finland — for children under the age of three. However, the recommended dose for children under three years of age is 32.5 milligrams of potassium iodide, and for newborns half of this.

However, the ministry continues to recommend that pregnant women over the age of 40 keep a supply of iodine tablets at home, as fetal thyroid glands are significantly more sensitive to radioactive iodine than they are among adults.

"Public healthcare services will procure iodine tablets suitable for children under the age of three and will determine the best way to distribute them to the parents of such children and to pregnant women. Regional healthcare providers will inform people when such an iodine product is available," the ministry's statement read  (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Iodine stocks sold out

On Tuesday afternoon, Finland's largest chain of pharmacy outlets, Yliopiston Apteekki, reported stocks of iodine tablets had practically sold out nationwide following the issuing of the ministry's statement.

Chief pharmaceutical officer Kati Vuorikallas told the STT news agency that the surge in demand has also been reflected in the increased traffic on the chain's website, which has caused the site to slow down significantly or even crash for some users.

Efforts are being made to replenish the iodine stocks, Vuorikallas added, but there is no precise schedule on when this will happen.


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