The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has expanded its program offering free Potassium Iodide (KI) pills, making them available to all residents who live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant.
The pills are now available at 16 additional pharmacies and 48 participating Walgreens stores. The distribution program began in late 2012. Over 60,000 homes within the Emergency Planning Zones of each plant were mailed vouchers to redeem at participating pharmacies for a free, two-day supply of KI pills for every member of the household.
KI pills are used to protect the thyroid from radioactive iodine that can be released during a nuclear power plant accident. Illinois' power plants are located in Braidwood, Byron, Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle, and Quad-Cities.
"The addition of these 16 pharmacies will make it even more convenient for people to pick up KI pills for their families," IEMA Director Jonathon Monken said. "So far, we've seen a good response to this offer, with nearly 20,000 pills already distributed."
Monken added that while KI pills only protect the thyroid gland, it does provide additional protection to those near nuclear plants in the case of an emergency. Evacuation and sheltering are still the most effective ways to prevent your body from exposure to radiation.
The pills were obtained by the IEMA at no cost from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Illinois also keeps a supply of KI pills on hand for emergency workers who would work in or near a contaminated area in the event of an accident.
If you have questions about the KI pills, you can call the Illinois Poison Center's hotline at 800-222-1222. A complete list of participating pharmacies can be found at www.ready.illinois.gov. Local participating pharmacies include:
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