'Don't take potassium iodide'

Radiation Effect
Radiation Effect
The government yesterday advised Malaysians not to simply consume potassium iodide pills after hearing rumours about the leaking radiation from the crippled nuclear power plant in Japan reaching Malaysian shores."Don't panic. Don't rush to buy the pills just because the Americans are buying. Malaysia is safe," said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

On Wednesday, Thai authorities announced that it would distribute the pills to its Japan-bound citizens to protect them from radiation.

"Do not consume pills without the doctor's advice, especially pregnant women. Consuming potassium iodide is not the only solution," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

He said there were other ways to protect against radiation and the government was cooperating with the Japanese Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation on information on preventive measures.

"The Atomic Energy Licensing Board and Malaysian Nuclear Agency will continue to monitor the situation in Japan to ensure that we get accurate, up-to-date information."

Potassium iodide is a drug that can be used to protect the thyroid gland from exposure to higher radiation levels. However, potassium iodide can be harmful to people with allergies or those with skin disorders.

Pregnant women and babies should not be given potassium iodide because it can cause serious thyroid disorder, especially in infants.

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