Scammers Hawking Pills to Capitalize on Radiation Fears, Feds Warn

Potassium iodide pillsCon artists are busy trying to convince frightened consumers to protect themselves with potassium iodide pills from the nuclear catastrophe unfolding in Japan, the Federal Trade Commission warns.

Potassium iodide can help prevent thyroid cancer, a major risk associated with contamination from radioactive iodine. However, the FTC notes, public health experts agree that U.S. residents should avoid taking potassium iodide unless instructed to do so by public health officials.Scam artists follow the news, the FTC warns, and are always quick to take advantage of any public health scare to defraud fearful consumers. When it comes to potassium iodide, the FTC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, urge consumers to:

Consult doctors before buying: Some people are allergic to iodine and shouldn't take potassium iodide. Those who are unsure should consult their doctors. People with certain skin conditions (such as dermatitis herpetiformis or hypocomplementemic vasculitis), as well as people with nodular thyroid with heart disease, should not take potassium iodide.

Understand that taking potassium iodide cannot:
  • Prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. It only protects the thyroid from radioactive iodine.
  • Reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred.
  • Protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine.
If you decide to buy potassium iodide, buy it only from a reputable source. ThyroSafe, ThyroShield and Iosat are the only FDA-approved potassium iodide products that can be legally marketed and sold in the United States. For more information on these products, contact:
Follow dosing instructions carefully. More isn't necessarily better. Taking a higher dose of potassium iodide – or taking it more often than recommended – doesn't offer any additional protection, although it can cause severe illness and even death.

For More Information from the Federal Government:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Radiation Emergencies
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS)

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