According to NPR, President Donald Trump's war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - launched via Twitter - has led to an increase in sales of potassium iodide pills, a drug that protects against radiation, as fears of an actual war grow stronger.
Troy Jones, who runs the website www.nukepills.com, said demand for potassium iodide soared last week, after Trump tweeted that he had a "much bigger & more powerful" button than Kim – a statement that raised new fears about an escalating threat of nuclear war.
"On Jan. 2, I basically got in a month's supply of potassium iodide and I sold out in 48 hours," said Jones, 53, who is a top distributor of the drug in the United States. His Mooresville, N.C., company sells all three types of the over-the-counter product approved by the Food and Drug Administration. No prescription is required.
Before you order your own supply online, however, take note that potassium iodide is not fit for every radioactive situation. The FDA warns that it can only protect from radioactive iodine, which may or may not be present in a nuclear attack, and it does have the potential to cause harm.
The drug, which has a shelf life of up to seven years, protects against absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid. But that means that it protects only the thyroid, not other organs or body systems, said Dr. Anupam Kotwal, an endocrinologist speaking for the Endocrine Society.
"This is kind of mostly to protect children, people ages less than 18 and pregnant women," Kotwal said.