Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Public Health Department recently distributed potassium iodide (KI) to residents and employers within 10 miles of the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant.
KI is a type of salt that is often added to table salt. It is also a non-prescription medication designed to protect the thyroid during a nuclear power plant emergency involving the release of radioactive iodine. If taken within the appropriate time period and at the appropriate dosage, it can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer and other thyroid disorders by blocking the thyroid gland’s intake of radioactive iodine.
Since 2003, the State of North Carolina has required local health departments to distribute KI doses every five years to all residents and employers within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, otherwise known as the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ). These doses are free-of-charge and should only be taken if instructed by officials during an emergency event at the nuclear power plant involving the release of radioactive iodine.
“While this action follows a state mandate, it also falls right in line with our mission as a public health department and is part of our ongoing public health emergency preparedness efforts,” said Anne Lowry, Chatham County Environmental Health Director. “In the rare case of a nuclear power plant emergency, KI can provide critical protection for the thyroid.”
The kits assembled by Chatham County Public Health Department staff include one dose for up to two adults and a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet about KI, including why, when, and how to take it. The doses are free-of-charge and expire in 2029. If you live in the EPZ and have not received the KI by July 14th, you can pick it up at the Chatham County Public Health Department’s Environmental Health desk, 80 East St, Pittsboro 27312.
To learn more about North Carolina’s Potassium Iodide Program, visit here.