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When there is an accident at a nuclear power plant — if there's an explosion or a leak or it's damaged in some way in war — radioactive iodine is one of the first substances that's released into the atmosphere.
If that radioactive iodine gets into the body, it can damage cells in the thyroid and result in cancer.
You can inhale radiation, or it can get into your body via the skin. But you can't see, smell or taste it in the air. It's an invisible threat.
There is no point in taking iodine as a precautionary measure to prevent against radiation exposure after a leak or attack on a nuclear power plant.
The thyroid only stores iodine for a limited amount of time. And taking too much iodine — even the good stuff — can be dangerous.
But the iodine is still only effective if taken when it is needed. Experts say an iodine "block" only has a chance of helping if the good iodine is taken just before or during contact with radioactive iodine.
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