Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:18PM - 212 Views

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health is providing free potassium iodide tablets on Thursday to help citizens be prepared for public health emergencies involving nuclear facilities.

Pennsylvanians who live, work or attend school within a 10-mile radius of one of the state's five nuclear power plants can get free potassium iodide, or KI, tablets.

Taken as directed during a radiological emergency, KI can help protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine. Individuals should take KI tablets only when directed to do so by state health officials or the governor.

Locally, KI tablets will be distributed at the Butler Township Community Center, 411 W. Butler Drive, Drums section of Butler Township; and at Luzerne County Community College's Public Safety Institute, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke.

Four 65-milligram tablets will be provided to each adult. Smaller doses will be given for children, based on their age. Individuals can pick up KI tablets for other family members or those who are unable to pick them up on their own. Directions detailing when to take the tablets and how to store them will be provided.

Anyone can take the tablets as long as they are not allergic to KI. They are safe for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, people on thyroid medicine, children and infants. Individuals who are unsure if they should take KI should ask a health care provider.

Those unable to get tablets Thursday can pick them up any time at county and municipal health departments or state health centers.

In addition to the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Salem Township, Pennsylvania's nuclear power plants are Beaver Valley Power Station, Limerick Generating Station, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station and Three Mile Island.

For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258).

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