State Distributes Potassium Iodide Tablets Thursday

POTTSTOWN PA – Free potassium iodide tablets, intended when ingested to protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine that may be released during a radiological emergency, will be distributed Thursday (Aug. 11, 2011) from locations in Pottstown and Phoenixville to anyone who lives, works or attends school within a 10-mile radius of Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station, the state Department of Health said Monday.

The distribution is targeted toward people who were unable to take advantage of past tablet offerings, or who have recently moved within range of the station, or who are unaware that free tablets are regularly available through county and municipal health departments and state health centers, department officials added.

The medicine will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pottstown office of the Montgomery County Health Department, 364 King St., Pottstown PA; and from 2-7 p.m. through the Chester County Health Department at the Kimberton Fire Company, 762 Pike Springs Rd., Phoenixville PA. Appointments are not necessary.

Four 65-milligram tablets will be provided to each person. Individuals can pick up tablets for other family members or those who are unable to pick them up on their own. Directions on how to store the tablets, and when to take them, will also be provided at each location. Because not all radiological releases involve radioactive iodine, no one should take the tablets unless specifically directed to do so by health officials or the governor, the state added.

Anyone can take the tablets unless allergic to them. They are safe for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, people on thyroid medicine, children and infants. Individuals who are unsure if they should take potassium iodide should ask a health care provider.

Similar distributions have been scheduled for residents near the state’s four other nuclear generating facilities: Beaver Valley Power Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Susquehanna Steam Electric Station and Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station. All are “closely regulated, secure and well-maintained,” the state’s announcement emphasized.

Photo from SFGate.com

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