Know Potassium Iodate
Potassium iodate, goes by the name of KIO3
in the chemistry labs, is a salt like compound that contains Potassium and Iodic acid. It’s an odorless white powder that dissolves easily in water just like common salt but doesn’t dissolve in alcohol at all.Oxidizing agent:
One of the most ferocious properties of potassium iodate is its oxidizing nature. It can easily cause fire when it comes in contact with a combustible material like fuel or reducing agents like nascent hydrogen or Sodium amalgam.Common usages:1. Table salt:
Recall that particular advertisement of a salt brand where a child goes on to question the iodine properties of common salt? Sometimes, though not very popularly, potassium iodate is used in the iodination of table salt to prevent iodine deficiency.2. Baby formula milk:
Though the sources are not confirmed it is reported that in some brands of baby formula milk, potassium iodate is used to add to the properties of dietary iodine quantity.3. Baking:
Here comes the real catch! All the fuss about the presence of potassium iodate and potassium bromate in bread and other baked varieties is actually true. For years this compound has been used in baking as maturing agent. They are known to improve the quality and functionality of dough rising and also augment and speed the process without hampering the taste.4. Radiation protection:
The common fact being ignored in all the fiasco about bread ban is that potassium iodate is actually approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of radiation protection in thyroid.5. Alternative:
Potassium iodide has a poor shelf life and hence many countries have been using potassium iodate as an alternative. Countries like UK, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the US date Idaho and Utah have been known to stock potassium iodate in the form of tablets.Common facts:1. Unapproved:
Potassium iodate is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for being medically used in the treatment of blocking or treating thyroid.2. Legal actions:
Legal actions were taken against websites that promoted myths about the usage of potassium iodate for medicinal purposes.3. Ireland issue:
After the terror attack on processing plants like Sellafield and nuclear power stations like Wylfa in UK, the government of Ireland distributed potassium iodate tablets to all the households. Later they realized their mistake and the tablets were disposed with municipal wastes.4. The harmless cousin:
Potassium iodide (KI) is the harmless cousin of potassium iodate. It is used in cold and cough medicines with no heath issues at all. There have been mild to reversible and almost no harmful effects of using potassium iodide but since it has low shelf life, the harmful counterpart is still preferred above this innocent, harmless compound.The harm list:
1. It can cause fire when it comes in contact to fuel or any combustible element.
2. Lethal when swallowed or inhaled directly.
3. It can cause high irritation to skin and eyes followed by redness.
4. There could be irritation in respiratory tract as well, followed by coughing and shortness of breath.
5. It has been known to affect central nervous system, blood cell damage and kidney diseases and possible damage.
6. If someone is ingested with potassium iodate he/she will face an upset stomach with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
7. For those who are already affected by liver or kidney problems may face an aggravation of their health condition.Fighting fire induced by KIO3:
This strong oxidizing agent will release enough oxygen in air for the fire to grow. It can also explode when exposed to shock or friction or with combustible materials. Fire extinguishers are ideal for fighting fire but even water spray can help keep the containers cool and prevent further spread of fire. Wearing full protective clothing with NIOSH approved breathing apparatus and face-piece is ideal while handling fire.
Even if the compound is accidentally spilled, make sure you remove all sources of ignition and combustion at first. For collecting the spills use safety gloves and coveralls, making sure that it doesn’t come in contact with your skin or eyes. Make sure that you don’t disperse any dust in the air. Do not use sparkling tools. Prevent scattering by moistening it with water.Recent reports:1. Ban:
Many countries have banned the usage of potassium iodate and have listed the compound as “hazardous” for public health.2. Augmenting thyroid:
Reports by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have suggested that the compound is actually responsible for augmenting thyroid related diseases. Listen to your doctor when he tells you to cut down on bread in order to lose weight in case of hypothyroidism.3. Excess iodine:
CSE reports that use of potassium iodate in baking and flour treatment can be responsible for higher consumption of iodine. The European Food Safety Agency reports that high consumption of this compound can accelerate the development of sub-clinical thyroid disorders to overt hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They further suggested that there could be increase in the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
FSSAI will probe into the matter and take forever to reach a conclusion on whether or not your favorite brand of bread and other bakery goods are safe for consumption. Meanwhile, you could start worrying or start baking your own bread. Look up on the internet. There are thousands of full proof recipes of baking with common raising agents like yogurt and yeast since you can’t dash into the local bakery with a sting operation to check if one of the ingredients can cause fire!