Special to Iredell Free News
The Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, and Mecklenburg health departments have not received an anticipated shipment of potassium iodide (KI) for residents and employers within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) of the McGuire Nuclear Power Plant.
The most recent supply of KI tablets, which was provided by the five health departments in September 2014, has a current expiration date of April 2020. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has not provided the health departments with replacement tablets due to widespread delays with the shipment of new KI tablets.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, none of the components of KI tablets, including the active ingredient, is significantly reduced when stored according to labeled directions. Therefore, KI tablets are naturally stable and do not lose their effectiveness over time and remain usable, according to the FDA.
Based on this evidence and previous practices, local health officials recommend residents and employers within the 10-mile EPZ radius of a Nuclear Power Plant to keep their current supply of KI for emergency use until an additional supply becomes available.
Health officials will notify residents when they receive new KI supplies and/or when additional information is received from the NRC.
Should residents and/or employers prefer to obtain new KI, it is available for purchase at several online retailers. When the new KI supply is received, the health departments will provide the KI pills to the public that live and work in the 10-mile EPZ of nuclear power plants.
Potassium Iodide (KI) is an over-the-counter medication that can protect the thyroid if someone is exposed to radioactive iodine during a radiological emergency. If taken at the appropriate time and at the proper dosage, KI fills the thyroid with stable iodine to prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed, therefore reducing the risk of possible damage of the thyroid.
While KI is recommended for any radiological emergency, evacuation remains the best course of action for protecting your health.
Please be advised that any KI that has been inadvertently opened from the blister pack, moisture damage on the package or has turned yellow (indicating it hasn’t been stored in accordance with labeled directions) should be discarded.
In the event of a radiological emergency, you will be advised through the Emergency Alert System of the protective actions you should take. KI should be kept in a safe, accessible location and should only be taken when instructed by State or County Public Health authorities. Do not take KI before advised to do so by public health authorities.
For more information, please visit The United Nuclear Regulatory Commission webpage at https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/emerg-preparedness/about-emerg-preparedness/potassium-iodide/ki-faq.html#kiexpired
Visit the Iredell County Health Department: https://nc-iredellcounty.civicplus.com/254/Radiation-Emergencies or call 704-878-5300