California Poison Control System warns against potassium iodide at this time

Taking potassium iodide in reaction to any perceived threat to California of radiation exposure from Japan is not advised for California residents at this time, according to Stuart Heard, PharmD, FCSHP, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and the executive director of the California Poison Control System. “Potassium iodide definitely has a place in the medical response to extremely high levels of radiation exposure, but this is not that time or place,” comments Heard.

There is no radiation risk expected to California or its residents from nuclear power plants in Japan that were damaged in the March 11, 2011 tsunami, which struck Japan's coast. This is according to the California Department of Public Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For questions about potassium iodide, telephone the California Poison Control System's toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-1222. The California Poison Control System provides immediate, free, and expert treatment advice and referrals over the telephone in cases of exposure to poisonous or toxic substances. Pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and poison information providers answer the calls every day, all day, and all night. Language interpreters are always available. The CPCS is working in partnership with California state and U.S. federal regulatory agencies in response to the unfolding situation of radiation emissions from Japan's damaged nuclear power plants.


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.