Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation fears spark run on West Coast pharmacies, health food stores

Many West Coast residents came up empty handed in their search of potassium iodide this week as fears over radiation spreading from Japan took hold.

The rush on the supplement came even as emergency management officials said there is no need to take the pills believed to prevent the thyroid from absorbing radiation.

"I didn't see too many people concerned about it. But when it was sold out, it made me think that I should be concerned," said Hameed Hemmat, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Hemmat, who struggled to find potassium iodide online when he couldn't find it in his area, said he ended up placing an order with a New Jersey company. He also has friends in New York looking for it.

Last week's 9.0-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami that wiped out large sections of northeastern Japan. The waves damaged a nuclear power plant that has released radiation into the air and could release more if workers can't control runaway temperatures.

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