Local iodine sales rise with radiation fears

The Japanese nuclear disaster may be seemingly happening a world away, but that hasn’t kept locals from taking precautions.

At the local health food store, New West Trading Company, Connie Lawrence says people are buying up anything that has iodine in it.

On Friday, Lawrence said her store was completely out of kelp, which is a natural form of iodine, and had only two bottles of iodine after having over 60 in stock before news of the failing reactors in Japan.

One customer sent a shipment to Vancouver, where supplies of anything containing iodine have been bought up.

Potassium iodine inhibits the intake of iodine radiation by the thyroid, which can lead to thyroid cancer, and has been distributed in Japan to those who may be affected by that form of radiation.

Lawrence points back to Chernobyl when a similar thing happened.

“It’s the same thing then,” she says. “We had runs on potassium iodine.”

Lawrence says that it can’t hurt to be prepared, and unlike the more potent potassium iodine, which may have adverse reactions if too much is consumed, there aren’t dangers to eating kelp.