Store Plans to Restock With Potassium Iodide, Even While Agreeing No One Needs It Now


The Valley's big dietary supplement chain, Hi-Health, faced a dilemma this week:

The experts say people shouldn't take potassium iodide out of fear of radiation from Japan, but demand for the stuff has been huge.

So, after thinking about, company officials decided to restock its shelves with large quantities of potassium iodide that's been specially formulated to provide just the right daily dose. Even if it's a dose that customers don't need and have been warned against taking.

"We can't stop people from buying it," says Hi-Health director of education, Rosanna Thill. "We're being proactive to what are customers are looking for."

The company can't get re-supplied until next Friday, though.

Other supplement stores are "in the same boat," Thill says, because the company that makes the stuff (she didn't have the name handy) just can't meet the sudden demand.

"This is as fast as they can make it," she says.

The new iodide product will offer 65-milligram pills. A typical daily dose for an adult is 130 milligrams; children get less.

But again -- experts say don't do it. And Hi-Health agrees.

"We're telling them not to take it unless the government starts saying to take it," Thill says. "We're looking at it as part of an emergency kit."

We suspect that most people buying potassium iodide are storing it, with few actually ingesting it. But who knows?

"People were coming in partially panicked to somewhat concerned," Thill says.

If you're popping iodide pills, don't be shy -- drop us a comment, even anonymously.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.