K1 tablets for all who live within 10 kilometres of Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations


Published September 21, 2022 at 11:08 am

Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington

The Region of Durham’s Health Department is reminding residents that if you live within 10 kilometres of nuclear stations in Pickering and Clarington you should have a supply of potassium iodide (KI) tablets in their households. This recommendation is also aimed at pregnant and breastfeeding women, and parents of infants, children and adolescents as KI is both safe and most effective for these individuals.

KI is a stable iodine salt effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in the event of a radioactive iodine release. New-borns, infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are at the highest risk of negative health effects to the thyroid from radioactive iodine. As a result, these individuals should be the first to receive KI tablets in the highly unlikely event of a nuclear accident. If such an incident were to occur, KI tablets are only to be taken when instructed by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

An initial pre-distribution of KI tablets for all area residents living near nuclear generating stations happened seven years ago in in Durham Region, as a requirement of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). This resulted in KI tablets being supplied to all area residents and businesses located within a 10-kilometre radius of both the Pickering and Darlington nuclear generating stations. Currently, residents and businesses, as well as individuals who are new to the Durham Region communities where nuclear generating stations are located, are reminded to confirm that they have an adequate supply of KI tablets readily available.

“Everyone living or working in the area where the two nuclear generating stations are located in Durham Region are encouraged to check that they have a supply of KI tablets on hand,” said Lisa Fortuna, Director, Health Protection with Durham Region Health Department. “KI tablets are available free of charge. In fact, as part of the increased safety standards outlined by the CNSC, anyone living within 50 kilometres of a nuclear generating station is eligible to receive free KI tablets if they want to keep a supply available.”

Ontario Power Generation indicates that a serious nuclear accident is extremely unlikely and would take many hours and days to unfold. The Pickering nuclear generating station has operated for more than 40 years without a serious accident, while the Darlington nuclear generating station has been accident free throughout its 25-plus year history;

The Health Department has developed a video to help educate the public about the purpose of KI tablets and to increase awareness of the availability of the pills. The video can be viewed on the Health Department’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/DurhamHealth. Durham residents can also find information about KI tablets in 10 languages by visiting preparetobesafe.ca.

A limited supply of KI tablets is available free of charge at some local pharmacies. The Health Department works in partnership with these pharmacies to help with local distribution:

  • Bay Ridges Pharmacy, 1794 Liverpool Rd., Pickering
  • Pickering Medical Pharmacy, 1885 Glenanna Rd., Pickering
  • Liverpool Pharmacy, 725 Krosno Blvd., Pickering
  • Global Drug Mart Remedy’s Rx, 130 Waverly Rd., Bowmanville
  • Courtice Pharmasave, 2727 Courtice Rd., Courtice

For more information or to obtain a free supply of KI tablets, visit preparetobesafe.ca, or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.

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