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August 19, 2019

Montgomery County offers free prophylaxis in event of nuclear emergency

Potassium iodide tablets available to those living within 10-mile radius of Limerick Generating Station

Health News Nuclear Threats
Limerick Nuclear Power Plant Arturo Ramos/Wikimedia Commons

Aerial photo of nuclear power plant in Limerick, Pennsylvania

The Montgomery County Office of Public Health announced plans to distribute free potassium iodide tablets to Montgomery County residents who live, work or attend school within a 10-mile radius of the Limerick nuclear power plant.

The prophylaxis will be available at three county locations on Thursday, August 22.

Potassium iodide, a salt of stable iodine often referred to by its chemical symbol of KI, can protect the thyroid gland from radioactivity by saturating the gland with stable (non-radioactive) iodine. The thyroid is the body part most sensitive to radioactive iodine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The prophylactic pills are intended to keep on hand in the event of a nuclear emergency, according to county health officials. It’s worth noting that KI should only be taken in the event of a real emergency when told to do so by state officials. It is not a daily supplement.

RELATED READ: How to survive: Nuclear attack or accident

During these county-sanctioned giveaways, adults and children will be given a two-day supply of KI with instructions on safe storage, as well as when and how to take the tablets. Businesses will receive a one-day supply of KI.

The tablets are reportedly safe to consume for all humans who are not allergic to iodine — including pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, infants, and people on thyroid medication. The health department is not providing KI tablets for pets at this time.

The tablets will be available Thursday at the following locations and times:

• Pottstown Health Center, 364 King St., Pottstown, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Keystone Fire Company, 240 N. Walnut St., Boyertown, from 2 to 7 p.m.

• Kimberton Fire Hall, 2276 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, from 2 to 7 p.m.

This distribution is a part of Montgomery County’s continued effort to make KI available to those who find themselves near the Limerick Generating Station at any given time.

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