TRENTON - Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy
M.D. today announced results of anthrax testing on 38 mailboxes
as well as the next phase in the public distribution of potassium
iodide pills to people within 10 miles of the state's nuclear generating
samples from 38 mailboxes have tested negative for anthrax, the
Commissioner announced. The FBI delivered the samples Thursday to
the state Public Health Laboratory, and final testing results became
available today. The testing is part of the ongoing investigation
and response to the anthrax incident last October that affected
the U.S. Postal Service's Hamilton mail processing and distribution
addition, the Department this morning received 37 environmental
samples from both the Monmouth and Kilmer postal facilities. The
samples are part of testing being conducted by the United States
Postal Service. Results are expected in 48 to 72 hours.
of ongoing public interest in this testing, we wanted to announce
results as soon as they were available," Commissioner Lacy
said. "Our Department is providing public health laboratory
support to the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service."
Potassium Iodide Distribution
part of the next phase of potassium iodide distribution to the public,
the Commissioner said that supplies of potassium iodide - known
chemically as KI -- will be distributed by Labor Day weekend to
50 public and private schools in the ten-mile Emergency Planning
Zones (EPZs) of the state's four nuclear generating stations.
schools in Ocean, Salem and Cumberland County will stockpile the
tablets as a preparedness measure in the event of a radiological
has been shown 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, which is particularly important for children.
hope to never have to use the pills, but should the need arise,
schools will be prepared to respond quickly to help protect students
and staff," Commissioner Lacy said. "However, KI does
not protect against all radiation-related injuries. Evacuation and
sheltering outside the EPZ are still the primary modes of protection
in an emergency."
of KI will also be made available to schools that will serve as
evacuation sites, in the event of an emergency.
Department, with strong support from the State Department of Education,
will be providing the school districts with guidelines for storing
and distributing the tablets, training staff to respond in an emergency,
and carrying out a KI distribution and evacuation. Among other provisions,
the state guidelines require that KI only be dispensed to students
and staff on the advice of the appropriate health official.
will develop their own detailed plans for carrying out the programs
Departments of Education and Health and Senior Services in September
will conduct in-service training for school nurses to help them
effectively administer this program.
want to assure parents that KI is available to their children in
the case of an emergency, but parents should know that participation
is voluntary," Dr. Lacy said. "Early in the school year,
parents will be sent fact sheets and permission slips so they can
make an informed decision about their child's participation, should
the need arise."
supplies will also be offered to health care facilities and correctional
facilities in the 10-mile zones.
department has also met with health officials from Ocean, Cumberland
and Salem counties. To increase public access to KI, county health
officers will work with the mayors in their jurisdictions to hold
community education and distribution events beginning in the fall.
The counties' health departments will also consider offering KI
during other routine public health services and events.
In the first phase of KI distribution, the department held six public
education and distribution sessions in July. Approximately 25,000
pills were distributed to an estimated 5,900 households and businesses.
Jersey received a supply of 722,000 KI pills from the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission in April. New Jersey was one of 33 states and one Native
American nation within 10-mile zones around nuclear power plants
to be offered the free supply.