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Top BC doctor tries to quell quake panic

A run on potassium iodide pills over radiation fallout fears has B.C.'s top doc trying to quell the panic.

City pharmacists say pills intended to fight radiation are flying off the shelves over fears of a possible post-quake meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

“We have sold 100 doses so far with many, many orders coming in,” Brent Nixon, the owner of a Pharmasave in Kitsilano told QMI.

But even though he's selling them, Nixon, along with health officials, warns against consumption of the pills, saying there's no need and no risk. The College of Pharmacists of B.C. has sent an urgent advisory to pharmacies across B.C. reinforcing that.

British Columbia’s top doc says don’t waste your money on potassium iodide pills.

“The energy would be better directed to ensuring (citizens) have the basics of earthquake preparedness for their family in their home,” said chief medical officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

“I don't think there is any rationale or reason for stockpiling potassium iodide at this point in time.”

A University of B.C. scientist said Fukushima is no Chernobyl, so the potential for a radiation cloud to reach the west coast is miniscule.

“The risk is relatively low, barring some kind of further disastrous situation occurring with these reactors,” said intercontinental pollutant transport expert Prof. Ian McKendry.

McKendry said it’s normal for dust, smoke, volcanic ash and pollution to travel around the planet. The northern hemisphere jet stream can accelerate movement, especially in springtime.

A 1986 Health Canada report showed higher-than-normal radioiodine was detected in Vancouver and Revelstoke two weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in the former Soviet Union.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 Hours.

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