Thyroid blocker

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Potassium iodide (KI) and potassium iodate (KIO3) are called thyroid blockers when used in radiation protection. [1]

If a person consumes a dose of one of these chemical compounds, his or her thyroid may saturate with stable iodine, preventing accumulation of radioactive iodine found after a nuclear meltdown or explosion.

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Iodine Chemical element with atomic number 53

Iodine is a chemical element with the symbol I and atomic number 53. The heaviest of the stable halogens, it exists as a lustrous, purple-black non-metallic solid at standard conditions that melts to form a deep violet liquid at 114 degrees Celsius, and boils to a violet gas at 184 degrees Celsius. However, it sublimes easily with gentle heat, resulting in a widespread misconception even taught in some science textbooks that it does not melt. The element was discovered by the French chemist Bernard Courtois in 1811, and was named two years later by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, after the Greek ἰώδης "violet-coloured".

Tincture of iodine, iodine tincture, or weak iodine solution is an antiseptic. It is usually 2–7% elemental iodine, along with potassium iodide or sodium iodide, dissolved in a mixture of ethanol and water. Tincture solutions are characterized by the presence of alcohol. It was used from 1908 in pre-operative skin preparation by surgeon Antonio Grossich.

Nuclear fission product product of nuclear fission

Nuclear fission products are the atomic fragments left after a large atomic nucleus undergoes nuclear fission. Typically, a large nucleus like that of uranium fissions by splitting into two smaller nuclei, along with a few neutrons, the release of heat energy, and gamma rays. The two smaller nuclei are the fission products..

Potassium iodide chemical compound

Potassium iodide is a chemical compound, medication, and dietary supplement. As a medication it is used to treat hyperthyroidism, in radiation emergencies, and to protect the thyroid gland when certain types of radiopharmaceuticals are used. In the developing world it is also used to treat skin sporotrichosis and phycomycosis. As a supplement it is used in those who have low intake of iodine in the diet. It is given by mouth.

Potassium perchlorate chemical compound

Potassium perchlorate is the inorganic salt with the chemical formula KClO4. Like other perchlorates, this salt is a strong oxidizer although it usually reacts very slowly with organic substances. This, usually obtained as a colorless, crystalline solid, is a common oxidizer used in fireworks, ammunition percussion caps, explosive primers, and is used variously in propellants, flash compositions, stars, and sparklers. It has been used as a solid rocket propellant, although in that application it has mostly been replaced by the higher performance ammonium perchlorate. KClO4 has the lowest solubility of the alkali metal perchlorates (1.5 g in 100 mL of water at 25 °C).

Iodised salt table salt preparation with iodide salts added

Iodised salt is table salt mixed with a minute amount of various salts of the element iodine. The ingestion of iodine prevents iodine deficiency. Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Deficiency also causes thyroid gland problems, including "endemic goitre". In many countries, iodine deficiency is a major public health problem that can be cheaply addressed by purposely adding small amounts of iodine to the sodium chloride salt.

Lugols iodine mixture of water, iodine and potassium iodide

Lugol's iodine, also known as aqueous iodine and strong iodine solution, is a solution of potassium iodide with iodine in water. It is a medication and disinfectant used for a number of purposes. Taken by mouth it is used to treat thyrotoxicosis until surgery can be carried out, protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine, and to treat iodine deficiency. When applied to the cervix it is used to help in screening for cervical cancer. As a disinfectant it may be applied to small wounds such as a needle stick injury. A small amount may also be used for emergency disinfection of drinking water.

Iodine-131 is an important radioisotope of iodine discovered by Glenn Seaborg and John Livingood in 1938 at the University of California, Berkeley. It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days. It is associated with nuclear energy, medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, and natural gas production. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. This is because 131I is a major fission product of uranium and plutonium, comprising nearly 3% of the total products of fission. See fission product yield for a comparison with other radioactive fission products. 131I is also a major fission product of uranium-233, produced from thorium.

The Wolff–Chaikoff effect is a presumed reduction in thyroid hormone levels caused by ingestion of a large amount of iodine.

Sodium iodide chemical compound

Sodium iodide (chemical formula NaI) is an ionic compound formed from the chemical reaction of sodium metal and iodine. Under standard conditions, it is a white, water-soluble solid comprising a 1:1 mix of sodium cations (Na+) and iodide anions (I) in a crystal lattice. It is used mainly as a nutritional supplement and in organic chemistry. It is produced industrially as the salt formed when acidic iodides react with sodium hydroxide. It is a chaotropic salt.

Isotopes of iodine

There are 37 known isotopes of iodine (53I) from 108I to 144I; all undergo radioactive decay except 127I, which is stable. Iodine is thus a monoisotopic element.

Iodine-125 (125I) is a radioisotope of iodine which has uses in biological assays, nuclear medicine imaging and in radiation therapy as brachytherapy to treat a number of conditions, including prostate cancer, uveal melanomas, and brain tumors. It is the second longest-lived radioisotope of iodine, after iodine-129.

Potassium iodate chemical compound

Potassium iodate (KIO3) is an ionic chemical compound consisting of K+ ions and IO3 ions in a 1:1 ratio.

Iodine-123 (123I) is a radioactive isotope of iodine used in nuclear medicine imaging, including single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) or SPECT/CT exams. The isotope's half-life is 13.22 hours; the decay by electron capture to tellurium-123 emits gamma radiation with a predominant energy of 159 keV. In medical applications, the radiation is detected by a gamma camera. The isotope is typically applied as iodide-123, the anionic form.

Iobenguane chemical compound

Iobenguane, or MIBG, is an aralkylguanidine analog of the adrenergic neurotransmitter norepinephrine and a radiopharmaceutical. It acts as a blocking agent for adrenergic neurons. When radiolabeled, it can be used in nuclear medicinal diagnostic techniques as well as in neuroendocrine antineoplastic treatments.

Ipodate sodium chemical compound

Ipodate sodium is an iodine-containing radiopaque contrast media used for X-rays. The drug is given orally and the resulting contrast allows for easy resolution of the bile duct and gall bladder.

Iodine is an essential trace element in biological systems. It has the distinction of being the heaviest element commonly needed by living organisms as well as the second-heaviest known to be used by any form of life. It is a component of biochemical pathways in organisms from all biological kingdoms, suggesting its fundamental significance throughout the evolutionary history of life.

Radioactive iodine uptake test diagnostic test for different causes of hyperthyroidism

The radioactive iodine uptake test is a type of scan used in the diagnosis of thyroid problems, particularly hyperthyroidism. It is entirely different from radioactive iodine therapy, which uses much higher doses to destroy cancerous cells. The RAIU test is also used as a follow up to RAI therapy to verify that no thyroid cells survived, which could still be cancerous.

Christoph Reiners

Christoph Reiners is a German nuclear medicine physician and hospital manager. He is a senior professor of the Medical Faculty of the University of Würzburg.

Jacob Robbins was an American endocrinologist known for his research on the thyroid gland. He established the "free thyroxine hypothesis", which holds that thyroxine is only active when not bound to protein, and performed long-term research on the incidence of thyroid cancer caused by radiation in survivors of nuclear fallout.


  1. World Health Organisation (2011) Use of potassium iodide for thyroid protection during nuclear or radiological emergencies