One thing most people never saw coming in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic was the run on toilet paper, with store shelves empty for weeks as manufacturers struggled to respond to the panic buying — it’s still not entirely clear why folks felt the need to horde toilet paper amid the early fears that the pandemic could potentially wipe out civilizations we know it.
And now that there are legitimate concerns about a potential nuclear war breaking out amid Russian aggression in Ukraine, there is reportedly another round of panic buying, with potassium iodide tablets being the desired product.
Amid fear of radioactive fallout following an attack on one of Ukraine’s nuclear plants, or even from a nuclear bomb, there’s a run on potassium iodide tablets, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that taking too many of the anti-radiation pills can be deadly, the Daily Mail reported.
The pills can counteract the effects of radiation poisoning, and the sudden demand has pushed prices into the stratosphere, making skyrocketing gas prices look tame in comparison.
“Manufacturer IOSAT is sold-out of $14 packs of the pills on its website – with identical tablets now for sale for $149 on eBay,” the British newspaper noted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that taking too many of the tablets could be fatal.
Here’s more from the CDC on Potassium Iodide (KI):
If radioactive iodine is released into the air after a radiological or nuclear event it can be breathed into the lungs. In most cases, once radioactive iodine has entered the body, the thyroid gland quickly absorbs it. After it has been absorbed into the thyroid gland, radioactive iodine can then cause thyroid gland injury. Because KI acts to block radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, it can help protect this gland from injury.
It is also important to know what KI cannot do. KI cannot protect parts of the body other than the thyroid from radioactive iodine. KI cannot protect the body from any radioactive elements other than iodine. If radioactive iodine is not present, then taking KI is not protective.
The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine and will absorb both. KI works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid. When a person takes KI, the stable iodine in the medicine gets absorbed by the thyroid. There is so much stable iodine in the KI that the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine—either stable or radioactive—for the next 24 hours.
U.S. manufacturers of potassium iodide have seen rapidly depleted inventories since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, according to CNN.
The Trump-hating network further claimed of previous runs, “Demand soared when former President Donald Trump tweeted in 2018 that he had a ‘much bigger & more powerful’ button than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, igniting fear about an escalating threat of nuclear war.”
One social media user tweeted that pharmacies in Brussels were handing out potassium iodide tablets out for free:
Just scored free potassium iodine tablets in Brussels. Pharmacies are giving them away free in case of nuclear war. “No one trusts the Russians,” the pharmacist told me. They had given away 20 packs by noon. Before #Ukraine almost no demand. pic.twitter.com/Ugb8aZgGZs
— Eric Reguly (@ereguly) March 1, 2022
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