Radiation fears spur supply shortages of potassium iodide pills  There are multiple nuclear reactors in Japan that are at risk of melting down after Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake rattled some of the country's nuclear power plants. As a result, the Obama administration is looking to study distribution policies for a drug to protect against radiation as fears swirl of potential radiation exposure.

Though government officials and scientists affirm radiation from the country's battered plants will not reach the U.S., there is still concern that the U.S. is not adequately prepared to deal with the fallout from a nuclear leak. Potassium iodide pills are used to treat people who have been exposed to radiation; according to scientists, they prevent thryoid cancer by flooding the thyroid with iodine, preventing it from absorbing radiation.

However, suppliers have reported that their stockpiles have quickly diminished as anxious consumers bought up the tablets to protect against possible radiation exposure. Twenty-two states have stockpiled or requested the tablets; in the event of a nuclear emergency, people who live within 10 miles of a power plant are advised to take the pills, Reuters reports.

Companies are selling out of the potassium iodide pills across the U.S. and world as anxiety-ridden consumers seek them out. "We've shipped more private orders in the last three days than we have in the last three years," said Mark Quick, the vice president of corporate development for Recipharm, a Swedish firm that makers the tablets.
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