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August 3, 1984

The Use of Iodine as a Thyroidal Blocking Agent in the Event of a Reactor Accident: Report of the Environmental Hazards Committee of the American Thyroid Association

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology and Medicine, Division of Nuclear Medicine, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center (Dr Becker); Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Dr Braverman); Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Charlottesville, Va (Dr Dunn); Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Jackson, Miss (Dr Gaitan); Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic-Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minn (Dr Gorman); Department of Nuclear Medicine, Cincinnati General Hospital-University of Cincinnati Medical Center (Dr Maxon); Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Michael Reese Hospital Medical Center, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (Dr Schneider); Department of Medicine, Division of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Tennessee, Memphis (Dr Van Middlesworth); and National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr Wolff).

JAMA. 1984;252(5):659-661. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350050047025

In the event of a nuclear reactor accident, radioactive materials could be released into the environment: radioisotopes of iodine could constitute a major component of such a release. Upon such exposure, radioiodines could enter the body and accumulate in an unprotected thyroid gland where they would remain for varying periods of time. A number of methods have been proposed to protect those at risk of exposure. Administration of thyroidblocking agents (such as potassium iodide) to exposed populations could be effective, but their use has raised a number of questions since there are considerable gaps in the scientific information available about the possible effects of low-level radiation from radioiodine. In addition, there are only limited data available about potential toxic side effects of potassium iodide distributed widely to large, unsupervised populations. Concern about these issues led the American Thyroid Association to appoint a committee of its members with special interest and competence in these areas to review the problems in detail and develop an advisory statement on the questions at issue for those to whom this matter might be of concern.

(JAMA 1984;252:659-661)