We finally have news today from a US official who has independently assessed the nuclear reactors, and states the amount of radiation is “extremely high” as reported on the front page of the New York Times this morning. Not surprisingly, the US and Japan are split on the potential nuke danger. Actual measures of radiation remain obscure, although Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta, MD reported from Tokyo last night that their personal radiation dosimeters (little hand-held detectors they wear like Lawrence Livermore personnel) confirm that the radiation is 10 times normal.
What are we to do here in California, where radiation is expected to arrive tomorrow in a “not normal, not dangerous” dose, according to the New York Times? Is “not dangerous” as defined by a group of conservative, conventionally-trained physicians, the same as my definition of “not dangerous”? I’m not so sure. Many are saying: don’t take iodide, such as endocrinologist Theodore Friedman as interviewed by thyroid advocate Mary Shomon.
I’m not happy with that message – I believe we still don’t know, and that the answer is “maybe” we’ll need the iodide. I agree with the US Surgeon General that it is reasonable to have it on hand. We are not yet advised to take it. Small doses may be appropriate and acceptable in some situations (discuss with your doctor), and if the frantic efforts in Japan, over 5000 miles away, do not succeed, we may need it. If we need iodide, I suspect we’ll need less than the CDC recommended doses because of our distance from the crisis, but we really don’t yet know. What else can you do? Stay indoors, take antioxidants such as Vitamin C. Let’s see what unfolds, and as I keep saying: prepare for the worst, hope for the best.