Potassium Iodide, known by its chemical symbol KI, is an over-the-counter medication. In the event of a serious nuclear plant emergency, KI can be used as a supplement to sheltering and evacuation.
Based on medical studies, federal guidance and an increased public interest in KI-potassium iodide, New York State and Westchester County have developed a program to provide KI-potassium iodide to residents who live, work or travel within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone.
Residents should understand that:
- KI protects only the thyroid gland from radioactive-iodine that may be emitted during a radiological emergency.
- KI offers no protection for other forms of radiation, nor does it protect any other parts of the body from radioactive materials.
- KI provides no protection against external irradiation of any kind.
The FDA emphasizes that the use of KI should be used as an adjunct to, not an option “in lieu of” evacuation, sheltering, and control of foodstuffs. If you live within the 10-mile radius of Indian Point, you should pick up some free KI that you may need to use in a radiological emergency.
KI comes in 65 mg. tablets (ThyroSafe) and liquid (Generic). Tablets can be divided for smaller dose requirements. The county Health Department provides information on how to make KI solution from tablets:
If you are instructed to take Potassium Iodide, follow the dosage instructions that come with your KI or follow the instructions in these county Health Department brochures:
Potassium Iodide is provided free of charge for those who live and/or work in the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone. There are multiple distribution locations throughout the Emergency Planning Zone. To locate the distribution site nearest you, consult the latest emergency guide.