UCSF

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.

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.