What does KI do?

Following a radiological or nuclear event, radioactive iodine may be released into the air and then be breathed into the lungs. Radioactive iodine may also contaminate the local food supply and get into the body through food or through drink. When radioactive materials get into the body through breathing, eating, or drinking, we say that "internal contamination" has occurred. In the case of internal contamination with radioactive iodine, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs this chemical. Radioactive iodine adsorbed by the thyroid can then injure the gland. Because non-radioactive KI acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury.

Knowing what KI cannot do is also important. KI cannot prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. KI can protect only the thyroid from radioactive iodine, not other parts of the body. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine - if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective.

Show All Answers

1. What is Potassium Iodide (KI)?
2. What does KI do?
3. How does KI work?
4. How well does KI work?
5. Who should take KI?
6. When should I take KI?
7. How much KI should I take?
8. How often should I take KI?
9. What are the possible risks and side effects of KI?
10. Where can I get KI?