Last March, after the tragedy in Fukushima, some residents in California became concerned about possible exposure to radiation drifting from Japan. For many, the biggest impact seemed psychological. News reported that roughly 1,000 worried Californians flooded a state hotline, and pharmacies along the west coast were inundated with demands for potassium iodide (KI), a salt of non-radioactive iodine used for preventing radiation damage in those at high risk of radiation exposure. But is it any wonder that the word “radiation” is capable of invoking such fear? The less familiar a threat is, the more people tend to fear it.