Potassium iodide (KI) pill is for keeping you & your family safe in the highly unlikely event of a nuclear accident. On
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The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) — the federal agency that monitors the safe operation of nuclear stations — now requires that all homes and businesses within 10 km of a nuclear power station receive a supply of potassium iodide (KI) pills. The pills have been available free of charge at select pharmacies, but will now be sent by mail due to increased safety standards.
In the very unlikely event of a nuclear emergency and a release of radioactive iodine to the public, KI pills will help prevent the development of thyroid cancer, and are especially effective at safeguarding children's thyroid glands. It is important for each household to have a supply of these pills because they are most effective if taken just before or soon after exposure to radioactive iodine.
The distribution of KI pills is not due to any change in the risk of a nuclear emergency and is not meant to cause alarm. We believe that staying safe means being prepared, even for the most unlikely of events
What is potassium iodide (KI)?
KI (the chemical name for potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. It is an essential nutrient needed in small quantities for the thyroid gland to function properly. KI comes in tablet form and can be easily swallowed.
What does it do?
The effectiveness of KI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established. When taken in the recommended dose and at the right time, KI is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk of inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines. KI fills up the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the uptake of the radioactive molecules. KI does not protect against other types of radiation.
When should I take it?
In the very unlikely event of an emergency that results in a release of radiation to the public, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario will provide instructions through radio, TV, Internet and other available channels on where, when, how, and by whom KI should be taken.
It is important to wait for this notification. Do not take the pills unless instructed to do so. You would only need to take the pills for a short period of time, likely 1 – 2 days.
How much should I take?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women 2 tablets (1 single dose only)
Adults 18+ 2 tablets every 24 hours
Children 3 – 18 1 tablet every 24 hours
Children 1 month – 3 years ½ tablet daily crushed in food or fluids
Children under 1 month ¼ tablet dissolved in fluids (1 single dose only)
If necessary, and for younger children, tablets can be crushed in food or dissolved in fluids.
In case of overdose, get medical help or call the Ontario Poison Centre immediately at 1‑800‑268‑9017 or 416‑813‑5900.
Are there any side effects?
The risk of side effects from taking a dose of KI is extremely low for all age groups who have normal thyroid function. The overall benefit during a nuclear emergency outweighs the risks of side effects.
There is an increased risk of side effects for people with thyroid disorders i.e., auto-immune thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, iodine deficiency and nodular goiter. These disorders are more common in adults and the elderly, and are rare in children.
Rare side effects in other parts of the body, such as gastrointestinal effects or hypersensitivity reaction, may occur but are generally mild.
People who are sensitive to iodine, who have an existing or previous thyroid disorder, or have any other concerns, should consult their doctor or nurse practitioner prior to taking KI.
Where should I store them?
When stored in a dry location between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius, the KI pills are effective for up to 12 years.
If this isn’t enough for my family or business, where can I order more?
To order more KI pills please use our online order form.
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