Potassium Iodide Information

WHAT IS POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI) AND HOW DOES IT WORK? 

Potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland against exposure to radioactive iodine in the unlikely event of a radiological release from a nuclear power plant emergency. If taken in an appropriate and timely dosage, potassium iodide can block exposure of the thyroid gland to radioactive iodine. However, potassium iodide does not protect other parts of the body from exposure to other contaminants released during the emergency.

Potassium iodide is not an "anti-radiation" pill. It is a supplemental protective measure, secondary to evacuation or sheltering in place. Evacuation and sheltering in place remain the primary protective actions during a radiological emergency. 

 

WHEN SHOULD I INGEST POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI)?

Potassium iodide should only be taken after specific direction by a state or local public health official.

Should a radiological emergency occur at Diablo Canyon that involves a release of radiation, local and state officials may direct residents who live near the affected area to evacuate or shelter-in-place as a protective action.  The ingestion of KI tablets may also be directed as a supplemental protective measure.

 

WHERE CAN I GET POTASSIUM IODIDE (KI)?

If you live or work in the Diablo Canyon Emergency Planning Zone, you may obtain a 2-day supply of KI for your household via the KI Voucher found in the annual Emergency Planning calendar. Visit the San Luis Obispo Public Health Department website on Potassium Iodide (KI) Pre-Distribution for more information.

Participation is the pre-distribution program is voluntary. NOTE: Potassium iodide will not be made available during an emergency, so obtaining potassium iodide in advance of a radiological emergency is highly recommended.  

For residents who do not live in any of the Protective Action Zones, KI can be purchased from commercial manufacturers listed at the bottom of the page. 

 

WHY POTASSIUM IODIDE IS MADE AVAILABLE TO SOME AREAS OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY:

The Federal Government made potassium iodide available to counties with commercial nuclear power plants.  The County of San Luis Obispo requested and received a shipment of Potassium Iodide and has made it available to residents who live or work in a Protective Action Zone around Diablo Canyon.  

 

OTHER INFORMATION ON POTASSIUM IODIDE:

For those who are unable to ingest Potassium Iodide in tablet form, information regarding liquid potassium iodide can be obtained from your physician and is also available on the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp   

ThryoShield:  http://www.thyroshield.com

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT KI:

  • Are there adverse reactions to KI?

Most people can take potassium iodide without side effects if it is directed by a local or state health official. A small number of people could have an adverse reaction. Anyone with an existing thyroid gland condition or anyone allergic to iodine or shellfish should NOT take it. Consult your physician if unsure whether you should take potassium iodide.

 

  • Is ingesting potassium iodide mandatory?

No. The use of potassium iodide is voluntary. No one is required to accept it or use it.  The distribution of Potassium Iodide in San Luis Obispo County is a supplemental protective measure for a radiological emergency at Diablo Canyon. 

 

  • If I don't live in a Protective Action Zone, can I still pick up KI from the Public Health Department?

No, the Public Health Department's Potassium Iodide supply has been made available to San Luis Obispo County residents who may be affected by a radiological release from Diablo Canyon.  Residents who do not live in Protective Action Zones 1-12, or wish to obtain potassium iodide for other purposes, may purchase it online. 

 

  • Where can potassium iodide be purchased?

Potassium iodide can be ordered from several commercial manufactures. You may call the following numbers for information regarding FDA approved products:

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 

California Governor's Office of Emergency Services
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
1-916-845-8500

www.caloes.ca.gov

Food and Drug Administration: www.fda.gov

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: www.nrc.gov

 

 

References

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis.

FDA, Guidance: Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies, December 2001.

How Much KI to Take

How Much Potassium Iodide (KI) to Take
One Tablet = 65 milligrams of KI 
Adults 18 Years and Older Two Tablet
Pregnant or Nursing Women Two Tablet
Adolescents 12-18 Years Old One to Two Tablets*
Children 3-13 Years Old One Tablet
Children 1 Mo. to 3 Years Old Half Tablet
Infants, Birth to 1 Month Quarter Tablet
* Adolescents approaching adult size (equal to or greater than 150 pounds) should receive the full adult dose.