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What are the dangers associated with iodine?

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Quick Answer

One danger of elemental iodine is that it is poisonous if ingested. An oral dose of a little over 2 grams of iodine is fatal in humans. Iodine vapor also irritates mucous membranes. Iodine is especially dangerous if a person has a selenium deficiency.

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Full Answer

The symptoms of iodine poisoning include a burning sensation in the mouth and throat along with a metallic taste. People can also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, intense thirst and abdominal pain, fever and convulsions. Other signs of iodine poisoning are the inability to urinate, confusion, difficulty breathing and shock.

Iodine is used to treat minor wounds, but too much of it applied topically can damage tissue. If Betadine, a liquid preparation of iodine, is left too long on the skin, it can cause rashes or burns. Some people are allergic to foods that are rich in iodine, such as sea vegetables. However, most medical professionals don't believe that this is an allergy to iodine itself.

Iodine is a halogen, an element that is missing an electron in its outer shell. This is what makes it reactive and prone to causing chemical interactions. Too much iodine can therefore react with and destroy enzymes necessary to life and health.

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