Stable iodine tablets are effective in reducing internal exposure to radioactive iodine, which poses a risk for thyroid cancer and other conditions. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, the Japanese government shifted its policy on stable iodine tablet distribution from after-the-fact to before-the-fact and instructed local governments to pre-distribute stable iodine tablets to residents living within a 5-km radius of nuclear facilities. The nation's first pre-distribution of stable iodine tablets was carried out in June and July of 2014 in Kagoshima Prefecture. Health surveys were conducted so that the medication would not be handed out to people with the possibility of side effects. Of the 4715 inhabitants in the area, 132 were found to require a physician's judgment, mostly to exclude risks of side effects. This was considered important to prevent the misuse of the tablets in the event of a disaster. The importance of collective and individualized risk communication between physicians and inhabitants at the community health level was apparent through this study. Involvement of physicians through the regional Sendai City Medical Association was an important component of the pre-distribution. Physicians of the Sendai City Medical Association were successfully educated by using the Guidebook on Distributing and Administering Stable Iodine Tablets prepared by the Japan Medical Association and Japan Medical Association Research Institute with the collaboration of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japanese government. Thus, the physicians managed to make decisions on the dispensing of stable iodine tablets according to the health conditions of the inhabitants. All physicians nationwide should be provided continuing medical education on stable iodine tablets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health