Potassium iodide pills are suddenly in high demand across Europe as fears of radiation poisoning from a nuclear attack or accident intensify.
FREMONT, CA: When the Russian President put his nuclear arsenal on high alert, some Europeans contacted by The Globe and Mail ran out to buy the pills. However, his order came four days later, when troops were already sent to Ukraine-causing battles in several cities and also supporting many countries-Germany and Italy to send military pieces of equipment to the Ukrainian army.
In central Brussels, a pharmacy offered free packets of iodide tablets to about 20 customers, up from one or two before the war in Ukraine. Pharmacists remark that people are in dire need of them because of the war as they do not trust the Russians.
The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission believes that potassium iodide is similar to table salt in chemical composition, and protects the thyroid gland against internal uptake of radioiodine that may be released in the unlikely event of a nuclear reactor accident.
Belgium is another European country that distributes iodine tablets to people within the vicinity of 10 or 15 kilometres of a nuclear power plant. Many European families are desperately in search of the pills as the nuclear scare of the war in Ukraine intensified on Sunday when Russian ally Belarus voted to give up its nuclear-free status.
The director of Central and Eastern Europe for the German Marshall Fund of the United States has pointed out in an interview that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in northern Ukraine in 1986 is still deep-rooted in the public consciousness. The reactor meltdown had contaminated much of Europe, reaching as far as Scandinavia, and sent many people scrambling for iodide tablets. Therefore, it is highly likely for people to assume that there will be a radioactive fallout if there is fighting. Ukrainians are also likely to be concerned about radioactive fallout if the Zaporozhye nuclear power station, Europe's largest, is damaged by fighting and indiscriminate bombing outside the city of Energodar.