Post # 1
Hi pregnant bees — in Asia and on the west coast mostly —
I read in the paper today that the fallout from the nuclear reactors in Japan may reach areas far away, including Tokyo and all the way to West coast of North America, and that people may need to avoid dairy and/or take potassium iodide tablets. They say kids will be the most affected, so I assume fetuses even more so (?)
Anyway, does anyone have the latest info on this? Like which parts of the world will be affected and when? And how much medicine to take? The risk-benefit equation? Sorry, for this lame post, I don’t have any more info than that …
Edit: also read this: “Potassium iodide is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to be harmful to an unborn baby”
Post # 3
The World Health Organization has some great information on their website.
Here is the page that has the information about potsassium iodide
Post # 4
KI is not benign in and of itself. I would wait until there is a definite radiation threat in your area before you take any. I spent most of my weekend researching KI and it’s effects on pregnant and nursing moms and babies.
The take home message was that the most effective thing you can do is avoid affected milk. KI is only a temporary measure, so you should only take it when your risk of radiation exposure is high (ie 30-50 mile radius of Fukushima plant right now).
Here’s a radiation map from Japan for right now:
and potassium iodide info from CDC
I’ve been way too obsessed with this this week!
Post # 5
@Zippy: From the same source that you posted:
While US nuclear experts acknowledged the seriousness of Japan’s reactor crisis, some stressed that taking steps in the United States such as distributing iodine tablets — which prevent iodine 131 from being absorbed into the body — would be “vastly premature.”
“It’s a big ocean. These (radiation) releases are essentially going to be at ground level,” said Ken Bergeron, a physicist who has worked on nuclear reactor accident simulation.
“We should not confuse it with health issues in the United States.”
Japan is roughly 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) from the US West Coast.”
Also source saying the fallout map is fake:
Post # 6
For those of you who don’t remember the Periodic Table of Elements, KI is potassium Iodide.
Post # 7
As a scientist, I am absolutely horrified by the irresponsible reporting leading to panic (and a run on KI in the states). I think it’s really unneccessary, as the chances of any significant radiation reaching the west coast from the types of reactors that are currently failing is slim to none.
Post # 8
@crayfish: Did you honestly expect any different reaction? I was in Iowa on 9/11 and people were lined up to purchase gas at the gas stations and stocking up on food and water. I don’t know what made the citizens think that Iowa’s corn and soy fields would be high up on the next target list for terrorists, but that didn’t stop them.
Post # 9
@crayfish: I was going to say that it might seem a bit early for something like the tablets. I grew up within 10-15 miles of Too Much Information and while we had to sign a form every single year in school that should Too Much Information actually melt down that we could receive the tablets, then and only then would they actually give us the tablets and then evacuate us to Lancaster, not if something happened like in the 70s when it was just a possibility.
Sure some people kept the tablets in the pantry but they lived on the banks of the Susquehanna and were around during the first incident.
Post # 10
@Mrs. DG:Thank you for the helpful links and information. I’m glad to hear someone else was thinking about it, too. Apologies for posting a false fall out map — I only had a few minutes to look into the issue this morning and didn’t check my sources (I cannot remove the link anymore, but maybe a moderator could?).
@crayfish: I am kind of surprised that you see this post as deserving a *sigh* and calling it “panic.” I think it is reasonable to raise the issue. I am also a researcher in science. But I avoid solvents in my work, I heat my turkey sandwiches, and I take prenatal vitamins. All of these actions prevent very low risk problems, nonetheless, I weighed the options and made my choices. As a scientist, even though I know quite a bit about some areas of science, I happen to know almost nothing about nuclear radiation and even less about current risks in my area. And if I could avoid extra radiation exposure or protect my fetus from thyroid cancer, I would! And, incidentally, pregnant bees in Japan — this board is international after all — may indeed benefit from thinking about taking KI, even if there is a risk to fetal development from the drug. It is a real issue in some places there, right now. I am kind of surprised that just because you are a scientist you know immediately that significant radiation will not reach anyone on this board. Of course, maybe you are that smart. Anyway, as I am sure you know, your perspective toward health and safety issue changes dramatically when you are pregnant — suddenly things you would never have worried about become a big deal.
Anyway, I posed the question to women on this board. I think there are a lot of smart women, thinking about their fetuses, on this board, so I wanted to hear their opinions and have a discussion. I’m sorry for offending people.
Post # 11
@crayfish: In the event of an actual fallout, isn’t it possible that the westerly winds could bring ionized particulate matter all the way to the west coast? I guess over time the “dust” would be sprinkled all around the planet anyway so…
Post # 12
@Zippy: Calm down! @crayfish: wasn’t saying that you were an idiot for wanting to know whether or not you should be taking KI — she said that she is “horrified by the irresponsible reporting” that would CAUSE you to think that & panic. AND she specifically mentioned the “KI run in the states“, NOT Japan (and the “panic” she’s talking about isn’t just reasonably asking others’ opinions — it’s going out to pharmacies & buying their entire stock of KI, which IS happening). Claiming otherwise to both accounts just shows how carefully you ACTUALLY READ her post (which is, not very).
For the record, I too am horrified at the type of people/reporters who create hoax maps and try to blow this out of proportion, which causes people to panic — because they don’t know any better than to follow the advice of the media, who they rely on for accurate reporting! Unfortunately, that’s not happening, and THAT is what @crayfish: was mad about.
@JoJo Bananas: It could well reach the west coast, BUT the levels would be so incredibly low (they’d cross 5000-7500km to get here) that it wouldn’t really matter. Plus, rain showers, etc. over the ocean would dilute it further than just diffusion in the air.
Post # 13
@Jenniphyr: I’m not talking about radioactive waves. I’m talking about “hot particles.” Ionized particles. They are the biggest threat during fallout because they can be inhaled and do more damage to your insides than if you were just exposed to the waves alone.
Post # 14
@JoJo Bananas: I knew you were talking about the particles. : ) Sorry if I didn’t make that clear. From what I understand from the news coverage here in Canada (which has been talking about particles so far as I know), the particles “spread out” when they travel across long distances (especially the ocean), and they can precipitate like any other particle. The reporters have been particularly good about pointing out that last bit — that you don’t just have to take into account the distance, you also have to consider that there’s a lot of rain happening over the ocean, and the forecast in Japan is for rain, which will also prevent the particles from spreading out too much..
Post # 15
Released from the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services:
While reports of a “jet stream plume” containing radiological materials is being propagated in the media, it is important to understand that these are just models of common weather patterns with a “what if” scenario of radiologic materials getting up in to the jet stream according to the NRC and the EPA. However, there have been no detections of radiological materials reaching these altitudes, and there is no reason to believe that they would reach these altitudes. If there are any questions about this situation please refer calls to the California information phone line at 916-341-3947.
Also, radiological monitoring is being conducted throughout the Pacific at airports and shipping ports. The CDC is serving as the lead agency for any passengers arriving at LAX who may be demonstrating signs of radiation illness.
If the situation in Japan were to pose any threat to California, the State has multiple plans in place for radiological emergency response and management. It is important to note that Potassium Iodide (KI) is NOT being currently issued by any agency in this County. It is important to understand that, according to federal officials, there is no current threat of radiological contamination and no need for any treatment for exposure. The Department Of Energy has stated that modeling continues to show that levels of radiation are significantly below the threshold necessary for personal protective actions or personal health threat. Radiation monitors have been placed throughout the Pacific to maintain early threat detection and any change in the current analysis will be addressed.
Bottom line: no need to purchase or take KI. Once again the media has convinced us that the sky is falling. Or in this case, there is fallout in the sky.
Post # 16
I concur that it’s a little premature to worry about radiation in the US.
My little brother is 60 MILES from the plant in Japan (also his girlfriend’s sister who is pregnant is also there) and there is no radiation there.
Even if there was a disaster and it DID spread to the west coast I’m sure there would be something that could be done for pregnant mothers. I’d avoid taking anything that can harm a fetus when there isn’t yet a real threat of radiation.