Free KI pills to be distributed to those near power plants

The Pennsylvania Department of Health will offer free potassium iodide, or KI, tablets on Thursday, Aug. 9, to Pennsylvanians who live or work within 10 miles of the state’s five nuclear power plants, including the Limerick Generating Station. Those picking up tablets will receive specific instructions from community health nurses on-site on how many tablets they should take.

“Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of public health, and having potassium iodide tablets for residents who live or work within 10 miles of a nuclear facility is an essential preparedness action in the case of a radiological emergency,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “KI helps protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine and is safe for everyone including pregnant women, those who are breast feeding, and children and infants. It’s important to remember potassium iodide should only be taken when instructed to by state health officials or the governor, and it is not a substitute for evacuation in the case of a radiological emergency at one of Pennsylvania’s nuclear facilities.”

KI tablets will be distributed Thursday, Aug. 9, at these three area locations:

• Kimberton Fire Hall, 2276 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, 1-7 p.m.

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• Keystone Fire Company, 240 North Walnut St., Boyertown, 2-7 p.m.

• Montgomery County Health Department, Pottstown Health Center, 364 King St., Pottstown, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

No appointments are necessary.

KI can be taken by anyone, as long as they are not allergic to it. It is safe for pregnant women and those who are breast feeding, people on thyroid medication, children and infants. Individuals who are unsure if they should take potassium iodide should ask a health care provider first.

Individuals can pick up KI tablets for other family members or those who are unable to get it on their own. Directions explaining when to take the KI tablets and how to store it are provided with the packages, and Department of Health staff will be available to assist those with any questions.

School districts and employers within a 10-mile radius can arrange to obtain their supply of KI tablets from the department. The tablets are also available year-round at county and municipal health departments or state health centers for those who live or work near a nuclear power plant.

The state’s five nuclear facilities are closely regulated, secure, and well-maintained. The facilities are: Beaver Valley Power Station, Limerick Generating Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, and Three Mile Island Generating Station.

Additional information on potassium iodide (KI) tablets and nuclear power plant safety can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.