How dangerous is a radioactive cloud? Because of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Americans on the west coast may find out soon enough.
Japan's nuclear reactor crisis may now be affecting America, but not at any dangerous levels. Reports state that a radioactive cloud has formed and is heading for the Unites States' west coast. Fortunately the cloud's radiation concentration is relatively low. The cloud will also likely become diluted over time.
In fact, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan sailed into the radioactive cloud as it left Japan. Military officials say that the sailors' level of radiation exposure in an hour was equal to that of 1 months' exposure to the natural radiation in our general environment.
Japan's nuclear crisis already had affected the mindset of the American public. Some U.S. citizens, particularly those living around nuclear plants, began purchasing potassium iodide tablets, which are used to combat radiation exposure. The Center for Disease Control warns against taking the tablets without being exposed because of the negative side effects such as "intestinal upset, allergic reactions (possibly severe), rashes, and inflammation of the salivary glands." You should also be aware of dosage amounts and possible allergic reactions if you choose to take potassium iodide.