I have gotten many calls from patients concerned about the tragedy in Japan, and of course concerned how it could affect their own health.
I am sending out this blanket e-mail to tell everyone to RELAX. The radiation that is coming from the nuclear power plants in Japan is thousands of miles away from the United States.
Before sending you this e-mail, I have spoken with Donna Earley, the Radiation Safety Director at Cedars Sinai Hospital, and I have spoken with a radiologist. They have both reiterated to me what I already know, which is there is no risk to us in this country.
Donna Earley specifically gave me an example of the amount of radiation that we could expect to receive in the United States from the disaster in Japan. She said it is analogous to a multi-millionaire finding a penny on the street and picking it up. The amount that penny would add to his fortune is analogous to the amount of extra radiation that we will be getting compared to the background radiation that we get every day from just being alive. She also reminded me that this was NOT a nuclear bomb that would have a large amount of scatter.
There is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to take potassium iodide. As I have already said, there is no risk from this radiation, and in fact, taking potassium iodide unnecessarily could actually be harmful to your thyroid, or activate a thyroid problem.
In further conversations with the Radiation Safety Director, she told me that really we should use this shocking awakening of our realization of just how small our planet is, and how a disaster could strike, to prepare ourselves, our homes, our family for a possible REAL disaster in the United States and especially for the West coast of our country. Use your energy to get a stockpile of supplies and equipment for the possibility of needing them for a REAL disaster in our country.
Also please note that even with immediate exposure to radiation, potassium iodide ONLY protects against thyroid cancer. It does not protect against any of the many other cancers that radiation would induce.
In summary, there is no need to worry about the radiation from Japan affecting you or your family in the United States. The best thing we can do now is to support the people that are directly involved with this tragedy with our money, love, and prayers.