Although the Obama Administration continues to report that currently no radiation risk exists in the United States as a result of the Japanese nuclear plant explosions, consumers throughout California and other parts of the United States are not convinced and are buying up all of the potassium iodide, kelp and green food supplements they can find. Pharmacies around the country have sold out of Iosat and other full-strength, FDA-approved potassium iodide pill developed for nuclear emergencies.

The rush for potassium iodide also appears to have motivated some companies to illegally market supplement products claiming to prevent or treat the harmful effects of radiation exposure, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On its website, the agency warns consumers to be on the lookout for fake potassium iodide products and to be “wary of Internet sites and other retail outlets promoting products making false claims to prevent or treat effects of radiation or products that are not FDA-approved.”

On March 10, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Soon after, the Internet lit up with information about how Americans could protect themselves against radiation exposure from Japan. Potassium iodide, which is used to prevent thyroid cancer, has been the remedy most prescribed by medical bloggers, health practitioners and others online.