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Alt-Info handling of potassium iodide shipment from EU to Ukraine

October 5e2022, ‘Alt-News’ – the Facebook page of pro-Russian propaganda outlet Alt-Info published a Publishthat the European Union has provided Ukraine with 5 million doses of iodine (potassium iodide tablets) in case Russia uses nuclear weapons.

Alt-Info spreads the fact of the transfer of potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine by the European Union in a manipulative way. In fact, the European Union supplied iodine to Ukraine based on the Ukrainian government’s request to protect the health of the population residing near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, because the use of this type of medicine is recommended mainly in case of radioactive pollution caused by damage to nuclear power plants, and not in case of nuclear explosion.

August 26e2022, the European Union received an official request from the Ukrainian government for the supply of potassium iodide tablets. In response, the Emergency Response Coordination Center mobilized 5 million potassium iodide tablets from emergency reserves through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, while Austria prepared an additional 500,000 tablets for delivery to Ukraine. The drug was donated to Ukraine to strengthen security measures and protect the health of the population in the event of a radioactive leak from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Since March 2022, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been under the control Russian forces. Ukraine accused Russia to use the nuclear power plant for nuclear blackmail. European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, also addressed the fact of the transfer of medicines containing iodine.

Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management“No nuclear power plant should ever be used as a theater of war. It is unacceptable that civilian lives are put at risk. All military action around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant must cease immediately. The EU is pre-emptively delivering five million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine from rescEU’s strategic stockpiles to provide protection for people in the event of exposure to high levels of radiation. I would like to thank Austria for donating another 500,000 tablets to Ukraine. We will continue to be alert and ready to act, because preparedness saves lives.

Potassium iodide (KI) is a non-radioactive compound of iodine and can be used to neutralize one of the radioactive substances, radioactive iodine (I-131). Taking potassium iodide prevents the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland and thus protects the body from internal contamination. During radiation leakage from nuclear power plants, radioactive iodine can be released into the environment and enter the human body through respiration and diet.

Absorption of high doses of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland increases the risk of hypothyroidism. After taking potassium iodide, the thyroid gland no longer absorbs radioactive iodine because “there is no more room” for it to be absorbed. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the public not to take potassium iodide unless there is an official recommendation. Potassium iodide is effective for specific groups of people only in specific situations.

Radioactive iodine pollution is primarily associated with damage to nuclear power plants. In other types of radioactive disasters, such as a nuclear explosion, the main danger is exposure to external radiation. In such a case, the recommendation is not to take potassium iodide, but to find suitable shelter.

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