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West Coast Scrambles To Find Potassium Iodide

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CBS Baltimore (con't)

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The West Coast of the United States is some 5,000 miles away from the coast of Japan. Many residents want to know: Is it possible for the radiation to travel across the Pacific all the way to America?

Andrea Fujii reports the radiation is blowing across the water, but experts say the radiation will dissipate, becoming less dangerous. Still, many out west aren’t taking any risks.

Japan was built to withstand just about anything, big earthquakes and even a tsunami.

It’s the sheer extent of the damage that’s stumping just about everyone.

How can a disaster be stopped in the making?

“We saw, following people after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how the health effects were seen for decades later,” said Dr. Stephen Ronson, St. Joseph Medical Center.

Ronson says the radiation spewing into the atmosphere is dangerous.

“Those energies of radiation are multiple-fold, more powerful than any kind of radiation that we are exposed to in our normal lives,” said Ronson.

Experts say it’s unlikely that the West Coast of the United States will be seriously impacted, but that’s not stopping a mad rush on stores.

“People are terrified, that’s what I think, including myself,” said one shopper.

Many are scrambling to find potassium iodide.

“It fills the thyroid gland with this iodide, as opposed to a radioactive iodide, so there is no room left for the radioactive version to take hold in the thyroid gland,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, Public Health Officer.

A $10 box is now going for more than $100 on the Internet. Officials say there’s no need to take anything yet.  Officials say people will be advised to do so when there is a threat of exposure.

The most imminent danger this morning is, of course, in Japan.

Many reporters there are being pulled away from the failing reactors.

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