U.S. Sales of Radiation Pills, Detectors Boom on Japan's Nuclear Fears

Radiation pills and Geiger counters have been flying off the shelves -- with prices booming sky high -- amid fears that radiation from a possible Japanese nuclear meltdown could spread as far as California.As workers continue to try to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant, which was damaged by Japan's massive earthquake last week, panic about the possibility of radioactive fallout has spread from northern Japan all the way to the U.S.'s West Coast.

Geiger counters and potassium-iodide pills -- which can help prevent radiation-caused thyroid cancer -- have been flying off the shelves, sometimes at unscrupulous prices.

Alan Morris, president of Anbex Inc., a Williamsburg, Va., company that is the largest supplier of FDA approved potassium iodide in the country, says his business "has been very hectic" since the earthquake hit last week.

"We've been selling a lot of product in the last few days," Morris says. "Our normal sales aren't even remotely close to that."

Fear Sells: Some Ridiculous Markups

Morris estimates that he has filled 15,000 orders for potassium-iodide pills sold under the brand name Iosat. The packages each contain 14 tablets and retail for $10.
But on Amazon, several retailers, including Neuron Electronics and BP Medical Supplies, are selling the same packets for up to $425.99 each.

"I hear that and I go crazy," Morris says. "That's just disgraceful. We have nothing to do with that. We sell the tablets for $10 and I wish it could be stopped."

Morris says the pills are an effective prophylaxis against thyroid cancer and have been used successfully at Three Mile Island and at Chernoybl in the Ukraine. But experts have argued that such preventive medicine is unlikely to be necessary, given the long distance from Japan, and that more risks than benefits could result from taking the medicine now.

Geiger Counters Fly Off the Shelves

Another hot seller this week is Geiger counters and radiation monitors.

Tim Flanagan, owner of Minerlab, a reseller of Geiger counters in Prescott, Arizona, says his business has been overloaded, especially with orders pouring into his website, geigercounters.com.

"This is demand like I've never seen it," Flanagan says.

All of his radiation detectors are sold out. Since orders started flooding in on Sunday, he's been telling people that the shipping time is several weeks, but on Thursday he began telling them it would take months to get the detectors because of the long backlog.

Selling to Japan

Devin Sper, president of Sper Scientific, a Scottsdale, Ariz., electronics firm, says his company has sold dozens of radiation detectors online for between $323 and $344 each. Orders are also coming in from distributors.

Normally, the bulk of Sper's sales come from scientific laboratories, which use the detectors to check radiation levels at labs after experiments. But now, most of his orders are from the general public, which is worried about Japanese fallout.

"We anticipate that sales will be strong and we've taken steps to increase our inventory," Sper says.

Expecting even greater demand for radiation monitoring in Japan, one wily entrepreneur in Wichita, Kan., even placed an ad on Craigslist's Tokyo website that offers a Geiger counter for $350, plus $35 shipping.

There's no word on how long it would take to arrive.

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Nuclear radiation, plutonium and other poisons entering our environment wherever we are. The effects of radiation include cancer, DNA damage, reproductive damage, hormonal damage, and thyroid damage (that's why they want you to take potassium iodine, another dangerous toxin) but I wouldn't. There is a much safer substances.

Instead you can use natural substances. There is one that is strong enough to protect against radiation. A good article on radiation sickness protection that shows what you can do is here:

And to make sure the water you drink is safe, look at the following article:


March 30 2011 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The stupidity of American people never ceases to amaze me.Even if they have a meltdown over in Japan,the radiation will be almost nothing before it reaches california.

March 17 2011 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glow in the dark sushi !!!! Nah seriously it is sad..but the people selling those pills should not price gouge like that....thats rotten......but yes unfortunately , truly american...

March 17 2011 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would think that all the cars we buy now and food items from JAPAN could come here to the USA and be Radioactive ...and parts of anything made there will have radioactive pieces inside...RIGHT ? & They aren't gonna tell us either

March 17 2011 at 5:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We in Caliphony are prepared! We as usual are taking mega-doses of Potassium Iodide and snorting it to get high. It may be destroying our system but with all that marijuana smoke in the air, who cares. Taking out second mortgage on my house so I can buy a radiation meter and gas mask. Besides look at Obama's other concerns and who is fiddling, plays golf weekly, shoots hoops, and scores March Madness while Rome burns? Where is our leader of Hope and Change? It is the economy, private sector jobs and world leadership, stupid! If one would read the book "Physic for Future Presidents by Richard Muller", then a decent dialog good be made on all this right here. It is written by a lefty professor at Berkeley but he uses simple terminology and put things in a logical perspective including the Chernobyl situation. It's not like you would think it would be stated. It is now in paperback so it is actually much more economical than buying the above that we have in Caliphony have. Give it a try and pray for those people in Japan devastated by Mother Nature and our Media Industrial Complex.

March 17 2011 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That really sickens me that these companies would think more of their profit than human need! People did the same thing after Hurricane Andrew in Florida (1992) when power was out and resources scarce. Having been involved in that, and Hurricane Katrina ... I have NO patience with these gougers. One guy in 1992 was selling 10 pound bags of ice for FIVE BUCKS ... they were normally a dollar without a disaster! These people belong in JAIL for being so heartless. I'm going to stop now because any further comment would degenerate and I would probably get BANNED!


Lynn in New Orleans, LA.

March 17 2011 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to wb7ptr's comment

Greed! Wasn't that one of the 7 deadly sins? Or did sin go the way of common sense, religion and charity? What gets me is the idea of many who think science and government can CONTROL everything like nature, when it is obvious that the most technologically advanced and system structured governments, can't even control evacuation, survival of the survivors or actions of the individuals. For all the environmentalists who have stopped the building of Nuclear Plants here, for the last 30 years, and who now want total stoppage of more new plants. The question is are they ready to acknowledge that the alternate method is to use the natural resources we have in abundance, like coal, oil, gas? Surely, if anyone could have used wind and solar to drive and heat and industrialize without nuclear, the Japanese would have been the ones to do it as they have no natural resources and make us look stupid in the recycling area. But, obviously they choose nuclear as the last resort but possibly most practical considering their geographical dependence upon other countries for fuel? Could our special interest groups and environmentalist possibly learn about priorities from this diaster? Or is wind and solar and global warming just another political money maker for the big boys, who use future crisis thinking to earn them big bucks and divert the thinking of the practical from todays reality?
Former generations used to live with gratefulness for living or being born in the land of plenty, with natural resources Japan and other countries can only envy. Today people are writing about building bigger and better mousetraps of our Nuclear Facilities, rather than bombing the Iranian plants under construction that we will have no power to stop how used on our allies, once constructed. Thats a future we could control. Digging for oils and gas for our own heating and cooling needs, is a future we can control. Oh, but I forgot, not in my backyard. God help us but the inmates have taken over the asylum.

March 17 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Equal parts greed and stupidity.

Buyers in America, you are too stupid to be trusted with money, and at least your idiocy is fueling the economy somewhere.

Sellers in America, if you are reasonably pricing and making special measures to provide your products tothe stricken region, good on ya. If you are a price-gougeing vulture shoving your panic-product in front of the massed sheeple (probably counterfiet to boot) I hope your ill-gotten gains can fund your flight because people should be closing in on you for your fraud.

March 17 2011 at 12:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fulongamer's comment

Is it just me or does all the insanity in this country start in Californication? The whole place is nuts and are dragging the center of the states down with there eco-decrees, mind numbing celebrity drival and liberal spewing. Duck and cover!!! next thing Pelosi will be pushing a bill for 100billion to give everyone a n Iodine supply and a fallout shelter.

March 17 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Good ole' American Greed.Always feeding off each other.Rip off anyone we can.No wonder other countries hate us.Now we have the Help Japan Scams.I love this country but alot of the people SUCK!!

March 17 2011 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am always amused at how there is always a group so eager to elect themselves the official victims.
Every wacko health scare is latched onto by these poor misfits like an infant latches onto it's mothers breast. I remember some years ago, there was an outbreak of a virus called "Ebola Virus" and the mindless were screaming about the end of the world as we know it...And of course, the Gov lied when they said it could not reach this hemisphere (In it'd natural form).
One of these days one of our space probes will discover some previously unknown virus on a distant planet and there will be the usual suspects screaming hysterically about the death of the Earth, even though the source is skaty zillion miles away! They just love being victims.

March 17 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply