Belgium has started distributing iodine pills free for all citizens, claiming the measure was not prompted by any “specific risk.”
Pharmacies have begun receiving some of the 4.5 million boxes of iodine pills, which have been available for citizens for free since Tuesday, it was revealed during the presentation of a new plan in case of nuclear emergency.
The distribution of the medicine, which is considered beneficial for radiation-affected citizens, came as an updated emergency plan came into effect.
In 2017, the government launched a website, explaining to its 11 million citizens step-by-step what to do in case of a nuclear accident. The alert states that in emergency situations citizens should always follow recommendations of the authorities, which include seeking shelter, following evacuation orders and taking iodine pills.
One of the dangers of a nuclear disaster is the release of radioactive iodine (Iodine-131) which can be accumulated in the thyroid gland and cause thyroid cancer. Taking iodine pills – also known as potassium iodide – before or at the beginning of exposure can prevent thyroid cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It was Iodine-131 that caused around 5,000 deaths from thyroid cancer following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
read more at RT.com