It May Be Time to Trade In Your KI Pills

Feb 08, 2017

Potassium iodide (KI) pills can be a lifesaver in the event of a nuclear event.

“Potassium iodide, an ingredient found in table salt, can provide protection for the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine and can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer after a nuclear emergency,” said Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator Daniel E. Regenye. “If this should occur, public health officials would tell you when to take the KI tablet. One dose is recommended. More could increase the risk of side effects.”

That’s why the Ocean County Health Department has been distributing the free pills for years to people who live or work within a 10-mile radius of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township.

But that’s the problem. People may feel safe because they have a KI tablet stashed away in their medicine chest, bedside stand or their car’s glove compartment. But if that tablet has been stashed away for years it may have expired.

OCHD officials are asking people who live or work in Barnegat Light, Barnegat Township, Beachwood, Beach Haven, Berkeley Township, Toms River, Harvey Cedars, Island Heights, Lacey Township, Long Beach Township, Pine Beach, Ocean Township (Waretown), Ocean Gate, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford and Surf City to check the expiration date of their tablets. If they are due to expire in March 2017 officials are asking people to trade them in for a new tablet.

They’ll be able to do so at clinics being held in four locations throughout the radius area in the coming weeks.

The first will be at Central Regional High School (East Entrance), located at 509 Forest Hills Parkway in Bayville on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The second is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lacey Township Community Center at 101 North Main St. in Forked River.

The action will shift to the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Center, 200 Volunteer Way, Waretown on Wednesday, March 8 from 3 to 7:30 p.m.

Finally, the new pills will be distributed at the Ocean County Service Center at 179 South Main St., Manahawkin on Tuesday, March 14 from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

The pills will also be given out daily at the Ocean County Health Department headquarters at 175 Sunset Ave., Toms River during the hours of 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.

Residents who wish to receive KI tablets must bring some sort of identification to show they live or work within the 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) area, such as a driver’s license, property tax record, utility bill, employee ID card or a paycheck stub. One family member can pick up tablets for all members of the family. All KI sites will also distribute fact sheets that include dosage and any other applicable information.

Questions? Call the department at 732-341-9700, extension 7503, visit its website at, follow the Health Department at Twitter@OCpublichealth or like the Health Department on Facebook.

“KI is being offered as a preparedness measure and not in response to any imminent danger or threat,” said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.  —R.M.

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