The Central Virginian

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How should KI be distributed in Louisa?

Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Should the Louisa County Board of Supervisors take steps on its own to ensure that residents who live within a 10-mile radius of the North Anna Nuclear Power Station have a supply of potassium iodide on hand in the event of a radiological emergency?

Jerry Rosenthal, a Patrick Henry district resident and chairman of Concerned Citizens of Louisa, thinks so.

He urged supervisors at their July 1 meeting to take measures to distribute the tablets to residents so that they can have them on-hand at their homes. He said that the federal government has left the decision to states and localities to make a determination about whether they would like KI for distribution.

In the event of a radiological emergency, current procedure involves evacuating residents within the target zone to area shelters and then, if deemed necessary, KI would be dispensed, according to public health officials at the meeting.

KI is used as a supplement to other measures including evacuation and sheltering. KI blocks the re-uptake of radiation iodine if taken properly, but does not protect the rest of the body from exposure.

In previous studies, it was determined that in cases where KI is distributed to the public to keep at their homes, only 20 percent of people were able to locate their allotment after a certain number of years, said Rosenthal.

“If we’re going to use the stupidity of the citizens who live out there as an excuse … then we can do away with any type of emergency planning,” Rosenthal said. “There’s no reason not to distribute.  It’s not a cost issue to the county.  There’s no risk to the public.”

Rosenthal said he believes KI should be readily available in the schools and on school buses.

“It’s the children that are at risk here,” he said. “And there is no reason not to distribute. You can not come up with one. All the reasons are totally bogus.”

KI is a salt, much like table salt, that can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer, especially in younger people if it is given in the proper dose at the right time. However, thyroid cancer takes a number of years to develop, according to health officials.

A stockpile of KI is available to the health department to use when there is a need, but according to supervisors, they have no control over how or when it is distributed.

To read the entire story, see the July 18 edition of The Central Virginian.