(Toms River) – The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reminding residents that since the 2018 closure of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, the free potassium iodide (KI) pill program has been discontinued.
“With the Oyster Creek facility in Lacey Township shut down and nuclear energy no longer being generated, the recommendation for residents to continue to receive the KI pills is no longer necessary,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “Every once in a while we still receive a flurry of pill requests from residents that made it a good habit to stay up-to-date with their supply but we explain to them that the pills are no longer needed or available.”
The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station opened in 1969 and a 10-mile radius from the facility was designated the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ). In 2002, the OCHD started the free KI pill program for residents living within the EPZ after concerns related to 9/11.
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.
“For residents who have expired or unwanted KI pills, they can easily dispose of them in the regular household trash,” Regenye added. “However, it’s important to know that you should never flush them down the toilet or otherwise put them in the water supply.”