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Iodine Prophylaxis in the Case of Nuclear Accident

[ Vol. 11 , Issue. 1 ]


Szybinski Zbigniew*   Pages 43 - 46 ( 4 )


Background: On 26th April, 1986 the greatest accident of nuclear plant in Czernobyl occured and isotopes with high percentage of release were erupted: 33-Xe, 131-I, 132-Te, 134-Cs and 137-Cs. The radioactivity of the isotopes was very high - for instance: 33-Xe 6500 PBq, 131-I 1760 PBq. Rest of the 15 isotopes represented similar radioactivity with shorter percentage of release. The most exposed group of people were 237 liquidators, and 11600 people living around had to be evacuated when the limit dose for a person (5mSv) was crossed. Ionizing radiation on the molecular level produces high energy radicals, water radiolysis and ionization of the atoms leading to damage of the enzymes activity centers and receptors, cell membranes DNA, intracellular lysosomes, and especially important for ATP synthesis - mitochondria. These destructions lead to tissue and organs damage.

Objective: The aim of this article is the presentation of the protective property of iodine application in the case of nuclear accident.

Methods: In Poland at that time, effective iodine prophylaxis did not exist. In the face of such exposition, a special Governement Commission was appointed. When permissioned maximal dose for children and adolescents 50mSv appeared in some areas of the country, the Commission made a decision about obligatory administration of a single pharmacological dose of potassium iodide for all children and adolescents till age 16. No relevant recent patents were available for this WHO report.

Results: In this way, the dose of 131-I to thyroid for inhabitants in high, moderated, and low contaminated regions were reduced by about 45%. However, from 1987 to 1997 increase in prevalence of the differentiated thyroid cancer in adults in Polish population especially in women over 40 years old in the southern part of Poland was observed.

Conclusion: Actually in European countries work 185 nuclear power plants and to 2045 another 100 is planned. In 1999, WHO issued recommendations on iodine prophylaxis in the case of nuclear accident.


Iodine prophylaxis, nuclear power plants, nuclear accident, radiation, ICRS biological effects, 131-I European patents.


Department of Endocrinology, Jagiellonian University, Collegium Medicum, Krakow

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