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Dear Reader,

I have had a report from Hong Kong that the panic buying of table salt has occurred.

Right no evidence exists to suggest that the general public in Hong Kong should start to the “iodine pills”

It is normal to put a small trace of an iodide salt into table salt, this is to prevent a thyroid disease caused by getting too little iodide in your diet. This disease is known as goitre when it get to the point of making the thyroid swell up, an old fashioned name was Derbyshire neck.

The amount of iodide in table salt is very low, to get the required amount of iodide to protect the thyroid in the event of a radioactive iodine event would require you to eat a lot of salt.

I think that typically a kilo of salt will contain maybe about 10 mg of potassium iodide, an adult needs about 130 mg of KI per day to block the absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid according to one US source.

The amount of salt would be likely to be toxic, years ago as a young chemist I was told that in ancient china one method of executing a person was to force them to eat about 800 grams of salt. It caused a slow and horrible death.

I estimate to ingest 130 mg of iodine a person would have to eat many kilos of salt. Not a good idea, do not try it at home !




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