WHY STOCKPILE POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI)?
Nuclear Accidents can happen, and Radioactive Iodine will be released.
· September 11, Chernobyl, TMI, and the near miss at Davis-Besse nuclear reactor in Ohio illustrate that nuclear accidents can happen even in a technologically advanced society.
· Because there is no guarantee that an accident will never happen, emergency planning is required. KI is an important adjunct to planning.
· Many Massachusetts citizens live, work, travel through the Emergency Planning Zones of nuclear power plants – Pilgrim (South Eastern Mass); Seabrook (North Eastern Mass); and Vermont Yankee (North Western Mass).
· We are all potentially downwind from other New England nuclear reactors.
· It is estimated that a “Chernobyl- sized” accident could spread radioiodine for hundreds of miles around each site.
Radioactive Iodine Can Cause Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Disease and Mental Retardation, Particularly in Children.
· Infants and the young are most vulnerable to radioactive iodine. Thyroid cancer in the young is more aggressive - spreading to the lymph and lungs. In pregnant women, Iodine passes the placenta freely.
· The effects of a core-melt accident can extend many miles. For example at 10 miles from the plant, 70% of exposed adults and 100% of exposed children are likely to experience thyroid damage. At 25 miles, 40% of exposed adults and 80% of exposed children are likely to be injured.
KI WORKS, KI IS TIME SENSITIVE.
· KI provides almost complete thyroid protection if the recommended dose is taken just before or shortly after exposure. Taken within (1) hour after exposure, KI is 85% effective as a blocking agent; taken during the first 3-4 hours after exposure, KI is 50% effective as a blocking agent. But, there is no protection if KI is taken (6) or more hours after exposure.
· Because KI is time sensitive, we can not rely on regional stockpiles to protect communities close to a reactor. Citizens will not get it in time if it has to be transported from some regional stockpile, by jet or otherwise.
KI SAFE AND FDA APPROVED.
· KI is widely used. It is an ingredient in ordinary table salt and many cough syrups. The incidence of adverse reactions to KI in doses used for nuclear accidents is as low as 1 in 10 million - often no more than a skin rash.
· After Chernobyl, Poland distributed about 18 million doses - about 95% of children and 23% of the adults were given one or more doses. Adverse effects were insignificant.
· Only those few people with a known allergy to iodide should consult with a physician before taking KI.
KI IS EASY TO INCORPORATE IN EMERGENCY PLANS. IT IS CHEAP, AND IT HAS A LONG SHELF LIFE.
· KI costs less than 20 cents a pill; its shelf life is at least 5 years.
· The Federal Government has committed to paying for a supply.
· It can easily be stockpiled in our schools and shelters. It is simple to incorporate in our current emergency plans. Duxbury, a Massachusetts’ town, already has done so since 2000.
· A pill protects for 24 hours.
EVACUATION/ SHELTERING MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE/MAY NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION - KI SHOULD BE ADDED TO YOUR EMERGENCY PLANNING TOOLBOX.
In a radiological emergency, evacuation may not be feasible because of weather, traffic or wind patterns. Evacuations only work perfectly on paper. During Hurricane Floyd, it took some drivers 8 hours to go 35 miles. Besides, KI and evacuation are not an either/or proposition. Depending on the circumstances, people may wish to take KI before, during or after they evacuate. Likewise, KI gives additional protection to people who are forced to shelter.
KI IS STOCKPILED IN NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD; BUT ONLY AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATING COMMUNITIES WITHIN 10-MILES OF A NUCLEAR REACTOR IN MASSACHUSETTS.In Massachusetts, since 2002, KI has been made available to citizens and businesses within 10-miles of a nuclear reactor; and to emergency workers and institutionalized populations, such as prisoners. There has been virtual no public health education by the state to inform citizens about this important program.