[ RadSafe ] observations on iodized salt

Thompson, Dewey L DThompson3 at ameren.com
Thu Mar 24 10:59:44 CDT 2011

John, I'm going to speculate on a couple of items.

IF the question is whether the iodized salt is "radioactive", then no.  (Some of the iodized salt does use Potassium Iodide or Iodate.  In this case, the Potassium does have some radioactivity, but the amount added is very small, and the resultant activity cannot be detected with friskers and such).

If the question is on whether or not taking iodized salt can protect the person from radioactive iodine in the atmosphere, well, no.  Others on this list have done some napkin calculations concerning eating salt, one came up with 7.5 grams of salt per day would give you 150 micrograms of iodine, which is the daily requirement.  I'm not willing to agree this is useful.  

Potassium Iodine tablets for emergency prophylaxis are 100 mg KI.  The regimen is 1 tablet per day, not more.  

These pills are given to the public to saturate the thyroid with iodine so that the radioactive iodines in the air or their milk and foodstuffs will not uptake to the thyroid.  I have to assume the folks that developed this regimen knew something about what they were doing, and reached the dosage level of 100 mg KI per day using reasonable assumptions and analysis of iodine metabolism in human beings.

That 100 mg tablet each day inputs gives approximately 75 mg of iodine.  To get 75 mg of iodine from iodized table salt would mean you would need to ingest a couple of kilograms of salt.  That would be bad. 

If the issue is "how much iodine in the air can be harmful?"  Well, let us hear from some of the internal dosimetry gurus.  


T 314.225.1061
F 573.676.4484
E DThompson3 at ameren.com


I think I didn't start out right.  And I am still not sure what I am asking. I and many others voluntarily take in radioactive food sources.  Beta and gamma emmiters with greater half lives than Iodine.  The concern is the thyroid with iodine if I am not mistaken. Does anyone have a resource I can look to,to see specifically how Iodine is absorbed and the damage it does?  John

John G. Center, Jr.
Radiation Safety Officer
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Western Michigan University
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Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5410

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