The Danish government has increased its stockpile of iodine tablets by 2-million to help protect against thyroid cancer for at-risk groups in the event of radioactive fallout as Russia threatens to wage nuclear war in Europe, Ian Randall reported for the UK’s Daily Express.
Photo Insert: Iodine will help protect against thyroid cancer for at-risk groups in the event of radioactive exposure.
In announcing the move, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority said the decision was based on an analysis of the potential impacts of a nuclear incident in the vicinity of Denmark.
This, they noted, could include accidents involving either a nuclear power plant in Germany or Sweden — Denmark has no nuclear plants of its own — or a nuclear-powered vessel in Danish waters. Or even the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia against Finland or Sweden as they move closer to joining NATO.
“The National Board of Health has reassessed the framework for Denmark's iodine preparedness, which must be able to be used in the event of a nuclear accident in our immediate area.”
Iodine tablets, they added, “must be in stock and can be distributed to at-risk groups in the event that Denmark is hit by a serious spill that contains iodine from a nuclear power plant or a spill in our immediate area.”
Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told Reuters that his country is more than 560 miles from the nearest nuclear power plant in Ukraine — and therefore posed no concrete risk to Denmark.
In the event of a nuclear disaster, iodine tablets can help protect against the risks of thyroid cancer in the long term by temporarily saturating the thyroid with iodine for 24 hours.
This then blocks the gland from taking up any iodine-131 — a highly radioactive form of the element — which might enter the body via contaminated air, food, or water. In this way, the tablets provide time to seek shelter from exposure to this radioactive isotope, which has a half-life of around eight days.