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Nuclear plants make it imperative to stockpile thyroid drug

White House Is Urged to Help States With Nuclear Plants Stockpile Thyroid Drug

December 6, 2009

WASHINGTON — After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress passed a law instructing the federal government to help states build bigger stocks of a simple, cheap drug to protect people near nuclear power plants in the event of an accident or terrorist attack.

But the 2002 law left a legal loophole allowing the White House to forgo distribution if officials found that there was a better way to prevent cancer than administering the thyroid drug, potassium iodide. And after years of delays, the Bush administration dropped the plan in 2007, saying evacuations would be a better alternative.

Now advocates are trying again, bargaining on a new administration that is re-examining Bush-era policies………………..The federal government already helps the 31 states with commercial nuclear plants stock pills for people within 10 miles, and some states have already distributed them in that zone. The provision sought to extend that radius to 20 miles………………..

organization favors stocking potassium iodide in schools, day care centers and other places where children are often gathered, given that their thyroid glands would particularly be at risk.

Potassium iodide works by saturating the thyroid with iodine so that it cannot absorb any radioactive iodine that is released from a reactor. But it works only if administered before exposure to the radioactive iodine occurs, experts point out.

White House Is Urged to Help States With Nuclear Plants Stockpile Thyroid Drug – NYTimes.com

December 8, 2009 - Posted by | 1, health, USA | , , , ,

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