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Price of anti-radiation pills spikes 100% as Putin rattles saber

U.S. accuses Russia of "war crime"
U.S. accuses Russia of "war crime" after assault on Ukrainian nuclear facility 04:43

The price of pills that can help protect people from radiation poisoning has nearly tripled following Russia's attack on Ukraine and amid fears the conflict could lead to a nuclear incident. 

European consumers are rushing to buy iodine and potassium iodide pills, which can blunt the effects of exposure to nuclear radiation with pharmacies in Finland, Norway and Luxembourg selling out of their supplies, according to a Bloomberg report.

Concerns about a nuclear attack mounted after President Vladimir Putin last week ordered Russia's nuclear forces to go on alert in response to what he called "aggressive statements" by NATO officials. 

Russian forces invading Ukraine also bombed Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine on March 4, although there was no reported spike in radiation. Ukraine had previously warned that a "radioactive cloud" could be released from a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl after Russia cut off its power supply, rendering it unable to cool spent fuel.

On Amazon, one bottle of 180 potassium iodide pills now costs $70, up from $30 just weeks earlier, according to CamelCamelCamel, which tracks the price histories of products sold online. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine raises fears of nuclear escalation 04:12

Even anxious consumers in the U.S. are flocking to Google for answers on how to protect themselves from a possible nuclear threat, Bloomberg reported. Queries including, "does iodide help in nuclear war?", "where can I buy iodide pills?" and "iodine tablets for radiation?" have risen to the top of common search topics in recent days, according to Google. Searches for "does iodide help in nuclear war" have risen more than 1,000% over the past seven days, according to the company. 

Potassium iodide can prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine and thus protect against injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The pills only protect the thyroid, and not other parts of the body, from radioactive iodine, and they should only be taken on the advice of public health or emergency management officials, according to the CDC's website. Taking the pills preventatively, if radioactive iodine is not present, can cause harm to the body. 

The raft of purchases has prompted the government of Luxembroug to issue a warning to citizens not to take the tablets unless it's recommended by authorities. 

Adults are only advised to take potassium iodide if they are expected to be exposed to large doses of radioactive iodine.

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