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 WHAT IS THE COMMONWEALTH’S KI POLICY?
MDPH (In) Action

 

For details, please visit Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s website:  http://www.state.ma.us/dph/rcp/radia.htm

Pre-2002: Until 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 plants.

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 radiological consequence.

Post 2002: After 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. 

  • 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 EPZs);
  • 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.
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.

 

Towns Within Emergency Planning Zones

Pilgrim

Seabrook

Vermont Yankee

Carver
Duxbury
Green Harbor
Kingston
Manomet
Marshfield
Plymouth
White Horse Beach

Amesbury
Byfield
Merrimac
Newbury
Newburyport
Salisbury
West Newbury

Bernardston
Colrain
Gill
Greenfield
Leyden
Northfield
Warwick

MDPH 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 publicized.

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

 

 

pilgrimwatch.org