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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  July 13, 2002

 

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
609-984-7160



Potassium Iodide Distribution Begins

TRENTON -Health, Environmental Protection and State Police officials today began distributing a free one-day supply of potassium iodide pills to people who live or work within 10 miles of the state's four nuclear generating stations.

The pills were given out to eligible residents and workers attending the first of six scheduled public education and distribution sessions to be held in Ocean, Salem and Cumberland Counties this month. Today's sessions were held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Manchester High School in Ocean County and at the Salem County Department of Emergency Service's office in Woodstown.

Potassium iodide (referred to chemically as KI) has been shown to be effective in preventing thyroid cancer in cases of exposure to radioactive iodine. If taken before or shortly after exposure, KI blocks the thyroid gland's ability to absorb radioactive iodine.

"However, KI is not a panacea," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "The pills do not protect the body from other radiation-related injuries due to exposure and are only a supplement to evacuation and sheltering, the primary modes of protection in a radiological emergency."

New Jersey received a supply of 722,000 KI pills from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in April. The KI is being offered as a preparedness measure and not in response to any imminent danger or threat.

"We have made KI an integral part of our comprehensive emergency prevention and response plan because it has proven health benefits and limited risk," said Dr. Lacy. "Our hope is that we will never have to use the pills, but we are now prepared should the need arise."

The Office of Emergency Management within the Division of State Police, in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Senior Services and Environmental Protection and county and local health and emergency management officials and volunteer agencies, is managing New Jersey's KI distribution plan.

In total, 33 states and 1 Native American nation within 10-mile EPZs around nuclear power plants were offered a free supply of KI by the NRC. New Jersey was the 11th state to accept the offer.

Individuals who wish to receive KI at one of the scheduled public education and distribution sessions are required to show identification (such as a driver's license, property tax record, utility bill, employee ID card, paycheck stub or letter from their employer) indicating they reside or work in one of the towns within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zones (EPZs) around the state's nuclear generating stations. The towns include Greenwich and Stow Creek in Cumberland County; Elsinboro, Lower Alloways Creek, Mannington, Quinton, Pennsville and Salem City in Salem County; and Barnegat, Barnegat Light, Beach Haven, Beachwood, Berkeley, Dover, Harvey Cedars, Island Heights, Lacey, Long Beach, Pine Beach, Ocean, Ocean Gate, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford and Surf City in Ocean County.

An additional supply of KI will be made available to residents, workers and visitors within the EPZs at designated evacuation reception centers in Ocean, Salem and Cumberland counties in the unlikely event of a radiological release.

In addition to today's public education and distribution sessions in Manchester and Woodstown, sessions are also planned as follows:

Ocean County Area

  • 7-17-02 Pinelands Regional High School (Wednesday)
    565 Nugentown Road, Little Egg Harbor
    Operation Hours (4:00 pm - 8:00 pm)
  • 7-27-02 Manchester High School (Saturday)
    101 South Colonial Drive, Manchester
    Operation Hours (9:00 am - 3:00 pm)

Salem/Cumberland County Area

  • 7-24-02 Bridgeton High School (Wednesday)
    111 North West Avenue, Bridgeton
    Operation Hours (4:00 pm - 8:00 pm)
  • 7-27-02 Salem County Department of Emergency Service (Saturday)
    135 Cemetery Road, Woodstown
    Operation Hours (9:00 am - 3:00 pm)
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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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