The war in Ukraine has raised concerns about nuclear safety among Finns and increased demand for iodine tablets. Last week, iodine tablets were temporarily out of many pharmacies due to hoarding.
According to the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, radiation values have risen locally in Chernobyl, Ukraine, since Russian forces managed to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It has been speculated that heavy vehicles will move around the area, releasing dust containing radioactivity into the air. However, the increased radiation level does not cause any health problems in Finland, and Finns do not need to buy iodine tablets.
According to the authorities, iodine tablets should be part of the medicine cabinet in every home at all times, but they are also in the emergency storage facilities of the Security of Supply Agency (IGC), the introduction of which is decided by the Government.
According to the Center for Security of Supply, iodine tablets are used to protect the human thyroid gland, for example in the event of a serious nuclear accident. The tablets protect against the possible effects of radioactive iodine released into the air you breathe, such as hypothyroidism or thyroid cancer. Iodine tablets are especially important for children and pregnant women. Proper timing of taking the tablets is also important and should not be taken without the advice of the authorities.
The Security of Supply Center has significant quantities of iodine tablets in its safety stocks. The stocks are up-to-date in terms of service life and meet the quality requirements for iodine tablets. IGC stocks are a last resort for situations where iodine tablets would be needed or imminent, and would run out of the normal distribution channel (pharmacies and wholesalers) or would otherwise be disrupted.
Iodine tablets should always be at home and in a holiday home, authorities say. The call for iodine tablets for residents, workers and customers also applies to housing associations, workplaces, schools, health centers, nurseries and other care facilities. The power companies are responsible for sourcing and distributing iodine tablets within a five-kilometer radius of the nuclear power plant. More information on STUK’s website.
The exact quantities or locations of iodine tablets cannot be reported by the IGC, as the content, quantity and location of emergency stocks are confidential. The Government decides on the introduction of emergency stocks.