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May 30, 2024

People who live near Limerick power plant can get free potassium iodide tablets on June 12

The medication prevents the thyroid gland from absorbing nuclear radiation in the rare event of an emergency.

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thyroid limerick power plant Arturo Ramos/Wikimedia Commons

People who live within 10 miles of the Limerick Generating Station, above, can get free potassium iodine tablets from the Pennsylvania health department on Wednesday, June 12. They can be picked up at the Keystone Fire Department in Boyertown from 2-7 p.m.

People living near active nuclear power plants are advised to have potassium iodide, or KI, tablets on hand in case of a radiological emergency.

KI is an over-the-counter medication that protects the thyroid from absorbing nuclear radiation. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering free KI tablets to people who live within 10 miles of the Limerick Generating Station in Limerick Township, Montgomery County, on Wednesday, June 12.

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Radioactive iodine released into the environment during a nuclear accident may be absorbed by the body, increasing the chance of thyroid cancer. Saturating the thyroid with stable, or non-radioactive, iodine before or at the outset of an exposure through the use of KI tablets prevents the thyroid gland from absorbing or storing the radioactive iodine.

"Ensuring medications on hand are kept up to date is an important part of protecting your health," acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen said. "Radiological emergencies are rare, but it is important for potentially affected Pennsylvanians to have unexpired tablets on hand."

KI is safe for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, people on thyroid medication, children and infants. KI should only be taken when advised by state or local authorities or by a physician.

Scientists first linked the effects of leaked radioactive substances from a nuclear power plant to thyroid cancer after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Russia.

People who live within a 10-mile radius of the Limerick Generating Station can pick up new KI tablets on June 12 from 2-7 p.m. at the Keystone Fire Company, 240 N. Walnut St., in Boyertown. People also may call the Pennsylvania health department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH or visit the Chester or Montgomery County municipal health departments.

Residents may throw expired or expiring KI tablets in the trash or turn them in. The health department cautions people never to flush KI tablets down the toilet or sink.

The health department also is offering KI tablets to residents living near the Beaver Valley Power Station in Beaver County, the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in York County and the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Luzerne County. Here are the locations where they can pick up free tablets. 

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