Potassium iodide tablets available to people near nuclear plants

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Aug 8, 2013 4:03 AM
Three Mile Island house

(Harrisburg) -- Potassium iodide tablets are available today for people living, working or going to school within 10 miles for the state's five nuclear power plants.

The pills available through the state Department of Health can help protect the thyroid glad against harmful radioactive iodine in the case of a possible radiation emergency at plants like Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom.

State Physician General Doctor Carrie DeLone says the pills should only be taken when directed by emergency officials.

"There are different dosages for adults and lower dosages for children. They are safe for anyone who is not allergic to iodine," Dr. DeLone explains. "It is unusual to be allergic to iodine because it is an essential element that your body needs to make thyroid hormones."

The federal Centers for Disease Control says potassium iodide cannot keep radiation from entering the body, and evacuating the area of a nuclear emergency is the best precaution.

The tablets are available for pick-up at several fire halls and municipal buildings in York, Dauphin and Lancaster counties.

Some 12,800 people came to the health department's pickup locations last year.

Tablets will be available between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the distribution sites below. No appointment is necessary.

-Solanco High School, 585 Solanco Road, Quarryville

-Peach Bottom Community Center, 5 Pendyrus St., Delta

-Fairview Township Fire Department, 340 Lewisberry Road, New Cumberland

-Goldsboro Municipal Building, 53 N. York St.,Etters

-Hummelstown Fire Hall, 249 E. Main St., Hummelstown

-Londonderry Township Building, 783 S. Geyers Church Road, Middletown

Published in Harrisburg, Lancaster, News, York

Tagged under , , , , ,

back to top

Post a comment

Comments: 1

  • AlanatAnbex img 2013-08-09 11:56

    While Pennsylvania officials should be congratulated for distributing KI to anyone within 10 miles of the state’s nuclear plants (in order to prevent thyroid cancer in the event of a nuclear emergency), the actual impact of this action on the public's health in case of an accident would be minimal.
    KI works. It is safe, effective, and inexpensive. But the 10 mile limitation is inadequate. Millions of Pennsylvanians would be left without protection in the event of a serious emergency.
    The World Health Organization and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission have reported that 97% of the cancers due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident took place more than 50 km (30 miles) from the reactor. 17%, in fact, took place more than 200 km away.
    Limiting KI means limiting safety. It should be made available to everyone.
    For more information, see

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »