Barnstable County restocks potassium iodide pills

KI pills available through your town's health department

Last month, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE) announced that a new stock of potassium iodide pills have been made available to town health departments on Cape Cod.

Potassium iodide (or KI) pills are a thyroid-blocking agent used to protect the thyroid gland in the event of a radioactive event. The pills have been made available to Cape Codders through Massachusetts General Law Chapter 111, Section 5K (G & H), due to the proximity of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth to Cape Cod.

This is the first new supply of KI pills since the last stock in 2007 which is approaching its expiration date, according to the BCDHE. The thyroid absorbs iodine, both stable and radioactive. A proper does of potassium iodide will "fill" the thyroid with stable iodine making it impossible for the thyroid to absorb the radioactive iodine.

The BCDHE recommends that all Cape Cod residents--especially those with children--obtain KI tablets from the health department in their town. The BCDHE also suggests that KI pills be included in household emergency kits in the event of a radiation-related incident. A single dose, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), can protect the thyroid gland for 24 hours.

Although available for purchase in a variety of stores and online sources,  the pills offered through the health departments are free of charge.

The following towns have KI pills available to residents:

  • Barnstable: Pills are available in the Public Health Division office, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Bourne: Two pills per resident are available at the Bourne Health Department, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. A release form must be completed and you must have proof of residency.
  • Brewster: Two pills per resident are available at the Brewster Health Department, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Chatham: Contact the Chatham Department of Health and Environment for availability.
  • Dennis: Two pills per resident are available at the Dennis Health Department, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Eastham: Pills will be distributed at the Town Hall during a Flu Clinic on Thursday, October 10, 2013, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Pills are also available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Eastham Health Department. Two pills per resident will be available. A request form must be completed.
  • Falmouth: Pills are available in the Town Clerk's office during regular business hours.
  • Harwich: Two pills per resident are available at the Harwich Health Department with proper ID and a completed form.
  • Mashpee: Contact the Mashpee Board of Health for availability.
  • Orleans: Two pills per resident are available at the Orleans Health Department, Monday through Friday, between  9 a.m. and 4 p.m. A form listing the names of the members of the household must be completed and proof of residency is required.
  • Provincetown: Contact the Provincetown Board of Health for availability.
  • Sandwich: Two pills per resident are available at the Sandwich Health Department, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Proof of residency is required.
  • Truro: Two pills per resident are available at the Truro Health Department, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. A release form must be completed and proof of residency is required.
  • Wellfleet: Contact the Wellfleet Board of Health for availability.
  • Yarmouth: Contact the Yarmouth Board of Health for availability.

To learn more about potassium iodide and how it works, visit the Center for Disease Control website here. To learn more about the state's radiation control program, click here.

► VOTE in the poll: Have you picked up KI pills from your town's health department in the event of a radioactive incident?


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.