Should You Keep Potassium Iodide in Your Emergency Kit?

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Yesterday, the Japanese government warned their citizens that they only have 10 minutes to prepare in the event of a North Korean missile attack.  North Korea has been testing missiles and China has warned them against conducting another test.  Although I’ve always recommended first preparing for the most likely regional threats such as hurricanes, tornadoes flooding or earthquakes, of late I’ve been hearing a lot of discussions about whether a nuclear threat should be something to prepare for.

For many years, I had not really considered keeping potassium iodide in my emergency supplies.  I didn’t include nuclear threats to be on my list of “must prepare for” scenarios.  But that is in the past.  I was recently speaking with a co-worker whose father was a nuclear physicist.  The topic of preparing for nuclear disasters came up.   Even if a nuclear attack is not on your list of threats, she indicated potassium iodide is a “must have” if you have a nuclear power reactor within 50 miles of your location.  Here is a map of nuclear reactors nationwide.  I found we do have a couple of them in East Texas.

What is potassium iodide?

Potassium iodide is a tablet that prevents the thyroid from absorbing radiation in the event of exposure to radioactive materials.  It is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved.

Once the thyroid has been damaged, the harmful effects of radiation cannot be reversed – potassium iodide is a preventive measure.

However, it must be noted that potassium iodide only protects the thyroid and not any other parts of the body.  The thyroid glad is the most susceptible part of the body when it comes to radiation.   If administered in the correct dose and in timely manner, potassium iodide is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in people who have been exposed.

Proper dosage

The FDA has posted the following dosages (Source:
Threshold Thyroid Radioactive Exposures and
Recommended Doses of potassium iodide (“KI”) for Different Risk Groups

Predicted Thyroid gland exposure (cGy) KI dose (mg) Number or fraction of 130 mg tablets Number or fraction of 65 mg tablets Milliliters (mL) of oral solution, 65 mg/mL***
Adults over
40 years
> 500 130 1 2 2 mL
Adults over
18 through 40 years
> 10 130 1 2 2 mL
Pregnant or
Lactating Women
> 5 130 1 2 2 mL
12 through
18 years*
> 5 65 ½ 1 1 mL
Children over
3 years through 12 years
> 5 65 ½ 1 1 mL
Children 1
month through 3 years
> 5 32 Use KI oral solution** ½ 0.5 mL
Infants birth through 1
> 5 16 Use KI oral solution** Use KI oral solution** 0.25 mL

*     Adolescents approaching adult size (> 150 lbs) should receive the full adult dose (130 mg)

**   Potassium iodide oral solution is supplied in 1 oz (30 mL) bottles with a dropper marked for 1, 0.5, and 0.25 mL dosing.  Each mL contains 65 mg potassium iodide.

*** See the Home Preparation Procedure for Emergency Administration of Potassium Iodide Tablets to Infants and Small Children.
Tablets come in 130 milligrams or 65 milligrams.

How often should it be taken?

It works best if taken within 3-4 hours of exposure.

One dose protect the thyroid gland for 24 hours.   Usually a one time dose is all that is needed.  Emergency officials would notify the public if more dosages are needed.

Possible side effects

  • Swollen salivary gland
  • Itching or rash
  • Gastro-intestinal upset

Who must not take potassium iodide?

If you are allergic to iodine and iodine containing foods such as shell-fish, you should not take potassium iodine.

Where can you buy it?

Our sponsor, LPC Survival, aka The Berkey Guy, carries potassium iodide.  Iosat, the brand name is among the four brands approved by the FDA to be sold in the U.S.

Visit  They are on sale for $10.99 for 14 tablets.

iOSAT Potassium Iodide 14 Tablets, 130 mg

I think I will pick some up to add to the emergency supply kit.  I do not expect a nuclear attack or accident, and I sure hope it never happens.  But as we always say around here, “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”


© Apartment Prepper 2017


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  1. If you want to make SSKI Saturated Liquid Solution, here is how you can make it. I bought 100 grams pharma grade potassium iodide, and divided it over 10 dropper vials of 10ml. 9 of these will find their way to selected people, for their families. When push comes to shove, 7ml water is added to each vial, resulting in saturated KI, 2 drops of which is an adult, 1 drop child, ½ drop for infant daily dose of emergency iodide for 10 days. 80 doses to a vial, the vial with content cost me less than $3 instead of $90 for pills, and it has an infinite shelf life, just don’t add water til needed. Feel free to spread this “recipe” to any survival communities you are a member of.

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