[ RadSafe ] observations on iodized salt

John Gerald Center, Jr john.center at wmich.edu
Thu Mar 24 11:19:25 CDT 2011

Thank you all for your input.  
You helped most by helping me clarify what I was trying to get to.  I was talking to some students about NORM and radioisotopes naturally in food and our bodies.  When the "lite" salt thing came up again from some who had taken the actual safety class.  I was trying to explain that there were different types of the same thing with different characteristics--isotopes.  And that these atoms can combine with other atoms to form molecules that will change how they effect the body-- absorption abilities, etc.  I was trying to give a good explanation on why the iodized salt in the mix was not why we didn't get "radiation poisoning" from the potassium-40. (Besides that it was minuscule).  Looking at the metabolic processes involved will give me better way to explain. So once again, thank you.

John G. Center, Jr.
Radiation Safety Officer
3922 Wood Hall
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI  49008-5410

Office (269) 387-5933
Cell  (269) 744-0996
E-mail: john.center at wmich.edu

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dewey L Thompson" <DThompson3 at ameren.com>
> To: "The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List" <radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:59:44 AM
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] observations on iodized salt
> 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.
> Dewey
> T 314.225.1061
> F 573.676.4484
> E DThompson3 at ameren.com
> <Snip>
> 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
> 3922 Wood Hall
> Western Michigan University
> 1903 W. Michigan Ave.
> Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5410
> Office (269) 387-5933
> Cell (269) 744-0996
> E-mail: john.center at wmich.edu
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