Sunday, August 25, 2002

Health officials: Nuclear pills aren't 'magic'




The Associated Press

        TOLEDO, Ohio - This fall the state plans to provide two pills apiece to about 335,000 Ohioans living near nuclear power plants.

        Health officials stress that the potassium iodide pills can give only limited protection from radiation in a nuclear accident.

        “Some people may wrongly assume it's a magic pill,” said Jay Carey, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health.

        Since the terrorist attacks last September, interest in the potassium iodide pill has grown nationwide. President Bush signed a bioterrorism bill in June requiring the drug be available to residents living near nuclear plants.

        The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is offering the pills to the 33 states with nuclear reactors. The federal agency is paying for Ohio's 640,000.

        The pill works by filling the thyroid gland, which absorbs iodine, with harmless iodine before radioactive iodine can get in.

       



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