The B.C. provincial government is recommending pharmacies not dispense or stockpile potassium iodide for sale in connection to the nuclear reactor situation in Japan.
"It is recommended that pharmacies do not dispense or stockpile potassium iodide tablets," provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, said in a statement.
Some pharmacies have reported a run on sales of iodide tablets and other forms of consumable iodine, which can protect the thyroid gland from the impact of being exposed to certain kinds of high-level radiation.
But Kendall said there is no basis to the concern about radioactivity, even in a worst-case meltdown scenario in Japan.
"The consumption of iodide tablets is not a necessary precaution as there is no current risk of radiological I131 exposure. Even if radiation from Japan ever made it to British Columbia, our prediction based on current information is that it would not pose any significant health risk."
The industry response to Kendall's recommendation might take some days to ascertain.
Producer still shipping
There's no doubt that demand is skyrocketing, according to a spokeswoman for liquid iodine producer Trophic Canada Ltd, based in Penticton, B.C.
The company got more than 400 calls from retailers on Monday, looking to replenish their supplies, said vice-president Bihlang Chung.
Chung said they would fill those orders.
"It takes a day to make it," said Chung.
She said the product has to be tested before it can be shipped, but said the shipments would be out the door by Thursday.
Kendall said that winds from Japan take five or six days to reach B.C. and by then any radioactive particles would have dispersed over the Pacific Ocean.