Nuclear Threat in Ukraine Conflict Prompts Surge in Iodine Pill Buying

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The combination of civil and military nuclear threats in Ukraine's war zone has sent the price of potassium iodine pills in Europe skyrocketing, according to media reports, some of which cited an Amazon price-tracking service called After Russian troops marched into Ukraine on Feb. 24, and took over the Chernobyl exclusion zone, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in the alert level of Russian nuclear forces and made veiled threats of tactical weapons use. That, coupled with a fire, shelling and damage at various Ukrainian nuclear facilities, has increased fears of a radiation release, against which iodine pills can offer protection if taken soon enough. In Belgium, the local Belga news agency reported that "almost 30,000 Belgians collected free iodine tablets from pharmacies on Monday" while Finland's YLE News reported pharmacies running out of stock. The trend was seen in at least nine countries across Europe, according to Euronews, which also reported that France was sending iodine tablets to help Ukrainians in the event of a nuclear accident, along with other medical products.

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