We urge Californians to not take potassium iodide as a precautionary measure. It is not necessary given the current circumstances in Japan, it can present a danger to people with allergies to iodine, shellfish or who have thyroid problems, and taken inappropriately it can have serious side effects including abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding.
Fear turns out be a very good thing for certain businesses. When the National Weather Service warns of a hurricane, there's a run on plywood and water. A crime spree can send people to the gun store. And when North Korea or Iran mentions the word "nuclear," the orders pour in to a Web site in North Carolina.