A caked sample of potassium iodide in a bowl.

A caked sample of potassium iodide in a bowl.

POTTSTOWN PA – If you feel the need to protect your thyroid in case of a release of nuclear radiation from Exelon’s Limerick Generating Station, free distribution of potassium iodide (chemical symbol: KI) tablets continues today by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to those who live within 10 miles of the plant.

The state said KI tablets are being distributed daily through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at:

After next Tuesday (Sept. 8, 2009), tablets also will be available daily from 9 a.m. to noon at the Montgomery County Health Department offices, 364 King St., Pottstown PA.

The non-prescription chemical compound, which is often added to table salt as an iodine supplement, is intended to protect individuals against thyroid cancer in the event of radiation. The thyroid, located in the neck, releases hormones that regulate metabolism. However, the tablets are not recommended for all users and should not be taken unless directed by the governor or public health officials.

Although tablet distribution has generated local media interest because of LGS’ proximity, local officials took great pains to explain there’s nothing amiss in Limerick. Similar distributions are being made around the state’s four other nuclear power plants as well, primarily because more than 250,000 pills distributed after the 9-11 attack in New York City have now expired and must be discarded.

The 65-milligram tablets are distributed in packets of four. Those picking up tablets must be prepared to show identification.

A separate distribution will be made for businesses that have arranged in the past to similarly protect their employees. They should call the county Health Department at 610-970-5040 to arrange a pick-up of new tablets, as should businesses requesting tablets for the first time.

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