Iodine tablets inappropriate in Germany

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Iodine tablets inappropriate and dangerous in Germany

Due to the wrecking nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan, many Germans and Europeans consider it important to take preventive care with iodine drugs. Many people believe that minimizing the possible risk of thyroid cancer. Doctors strongly warn against taking the iodinated agents on their own. Inappropriate use of iodine tablets can harm the body. For example, there is a risk of hyperthyroidism.

In a recent announcement, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety warns against the prophylactic use of iodine tablets. The medicinal products should only be taken if an official order has been given. There is currently no danger of radioactive radiation in Europe.

Job medication provides prophylactic protection against radioactive iodine 131 In Japan, people in the protection zone around the radioactively contaminated Fukushima nuclear power plant are given high-dose potassium iodide. The remedy is to ensure that the thyroid gland is flooded with untried iodine. If the organism absorbs radioactive iodine, the excess iodine is excreted from the body. Contamination of the body can thus be reduced. However, taking the preparations only works if no contaminated iodine has previously been absorbed through the air or food. In addition, the intake only protects against the storage of radioactive iodine 131. The organism stores the iodine of the tablets and then ignores the radioactive iodine. Job drugs cannot do anything against direct exposure to radiation in the form of cesium-137, plutonium or other fission products such as krypton or strontium. It only reduces the risk of an outbreak of thyroid cancer, since the particles of iodine 131 could settle directly in the thyroid. In addition, the dose is administered depending on age, weight and individual condition and only works for a few days. Taking it on your own is therefore not only a health hazard, but is also useless, at least in Germany.

Taking it on your own poses health risks The chairman of the Center for Social Policy at the University of Bremen and head of drug evaluations at the “Stiftung Warentest”, Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske warned: "The medicine has a preventive effect only a few hours before to a few hours after exposure to radioactive iodine and it can also cause serious thyroid disorders." If patients have passed the age of 45 or suffer from an iodine allergy and hyperthyroidism, the intake poses a particularly high health risk, according to the expert. Preventive use is currently important in the crisis area, especially for children up to the age of 18, since the iodine metabolism is highest in children.

Radioactive contamination in Germany is currently ruled out. The Federal Ministry for the Environment therefore warns urgently not to take iodine agents on your own. According to available scientific knowledge, there is no danger of atomic radiation in Germany. On the one hand, the distance to Japan (around 8000 kilometers) is much too great and, on the other hand, according to the Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Ilse Eigner (CSU), imported foods from Japan are being tested more and more for radioactivity. In addition, the import due to the environmental disaster in Japan is currently very limited or has almost completely stopped. If it should nevertheless be necessary to distribute iodine funds to the German population, appropriate medicines are available, as a spokesman for the Federal Environment Ministry emphasized.

Iodine tablets from the pharmacy do not provide any protection The commercially available job medication in pharmacies is far from sufficient to guarantee effective protection. An adult would have to consume a total of 1,300 tablets of 100 micrograms each to ensure protection against iodine-131. High-dose and specially designed iodine tablets are therefore only prescribed and distributed by the authorities. Consumers should therefore refrain from curious dubious offers on the Internet. The offers play with people's fears and do not provide any health protection. (sb)

Read on:
How dangerous is radioactive radiation?
What do meltdown or super meltdown mean?
Doctors are calling for the shutdown of all nuclear power plants
Radioactive radiation: consequences for health
Mass protests against nuclear power expected

Image: Andrea Damm /

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