Iodine tablets were flying off health food store shelves as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that took place in Japan almost 2 years ago at this update, which caused damage to nuclear plants, and what some fear are excess levels of radiation in the air...all the way to the US - especially in California. As of this update, we are seeing debris from the Tsunami well over a year ago arriving on the western coast.
People that were affected were taking kelp because it protects important functions in the body, like the thyroid gland. Iodine treatment like that being given to those exposed to radiation in Japan may be necessary, but to take it out of fear, not knowing how much to take, what the side affects are, and more, is not wise.
Iodine is added to salt to make sure that people get some in their diet, and it can also be purchased as a prepared encapsulated herb. Kelp was, and still is my herb of choice for it's iodine-containing properties. It is natural, used by the body with less side affects, but still, it is important to be sure that your source of kelp or other herbs that contain Iodine is safe. Those who prepare supplements have many tests available to them in order to do tests to assure product safety, you can read more about that here, and since that was written I am sure there are more quality assurance tests available.
In fact, speaking of radiation, the company that I purchase herbs from discovered that a batch of chicory that they received to process contained radiation from the Chernobyl incident years before, and had to find another source. I can provide information about that company on request, please contact me through a comment, they are moderated and I don't approve comments that contain requests for your privacy.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Please don't take iodine pills to prevent symptoms of radiation sickness or for any other reason without careful guidance from a health care provider.