WHAT IS THE COMMONWEALTH’S KI POLICY?
MDPH (In) Action
For details, please
visit Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s website:
February 1,2002, Massachusetts stockpiled KI only for emergency workers and
institutionalized individuals in towns within the 10-mile Emergency Planning
Zone (EPZ) for the Pilgrim, Seabrook and Vermont Yankee nuclear power
MDPH actively lobbied
against stockpiling KI for the general public – a political not a
health-based decision. Their rationale was that KI only “is stockpiled for
those individuals who cannot, or are not, evacuated prior to exposure to a
radioactive plume containing radioactive iodine.” This of course ignored the
potential of a fast breaking accident and accident of considerable
concerted effort from public interest groups and citizens, Federal rules and
guidance changed and states were asked to “consider” the appropriateness of KI for the general public, as a supplement to evacuation and sheltering.
MDPH and MEMA finally
bowed under public pressure and requested a supply of KI from NRC - January
8, 2002. Specifically, Massachusetts requested 660,000 pills for the public
in 18 towns within the three EPZs in our state.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) offered to supply states
with KI for the public in the EPZs (up to two tablets/person in each of
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) again provided guidance on
the safety and benefits of KI and its proper dosage; and
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplied guidance
to the states on using KI for the public.
Within Emergency Planning Zones
White Horse Beach
simply notified local Boards of Health and relied on local newspapers
and media to cover the story on their own so that the public would be
informed. A serious public health education program and effort by MDPH
was, and continues to be, lacking.
MDPH placed a supply of KI for the public in selected community
pharmacies in Pilgrim’s EPZ. Unless the local press chose to write about
the story, it remained a secret. Community groups, not MDPH, requested
that those pharmacies post notices – some complied.
In addition, MDPH supplies a single potassium iodide (KI) pill for each
employee at a work site or person in a residence within the 10-mile
Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ), upon a written request or after a form is
filled out by the applicant on line. Again, this procedure is not
MDPH states that they have a secondary supply in their State Central
Pharmacy and are presently, “considering a range of distribution plans
in the event of an emergency.”
After more than three years, MDPH finally agreed with the Town of
Duxbury’s request to allow distribution of the Town’s own KI supply at
Duxbury’s Reception Center to evacuees.
More about KI
More about Emergency Planning