[ RadSafe ] Nuke pills not ready despite '03 deadline

Flanigan, Floyd Floyd.Flanigan at nmcco.com
Wed Oct 12 08:49:02 CDT 2005

Well ... I guess ... until the pills are ready, we could give them all a
free allotment of bananas.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Sandy Perle
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 8:15 AM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Nuke pills not ready despite '03 deadline

Nuke pills not ready despite '03 deadline 

Despite an order from Congress, the Bush administration has not given 
millions of people living within 20 miles of nuclear power plants 
access to pills that could help protect them if they are exposed to 
It will be early 2006, at the earliest, before potassium iodide pills 
are made available to those people. Congress had ordered that the 
pills, which help prevent thyroid cancer, be stockpiled by mid-2003.

Rep. Edward Markey (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., said it's 
"outrageous" that the administration hasn't made the pills more 
widely available.

"Nuclear power plants are at the top of the al-Qaeda target list," he 
said. "Potassium iodide is an inexpensive way to protect infants and 

The federal government already makes pills available to states that 
have residents living within 10 miles of a licensed nuclear reactor. 
The nation has 104 such reactors spread across 33 states. 

After the Sept. 11 attacks raised concerns that terrorists might try 
to attack nuclear power plants, members of Congress decided more 
people should be protected. 

A nuclear accident produces radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide 
pills, if taken quickly, fill the thyroid with non-radioactive 
iodine, thereby blocking the radioactive element from the thyroid.  
As part of broad bioterrorism legislation passed in 2002, Congress 
set a June 2003 deadline for the administration to offer free 
potassium iodide pills to states that have residents living within a 
20-mile radius of a plant.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 4.7 million people 
live within a 10-mile radius of the nation's plants, and 21.9 million 
live within a 20-mile radius. Because the pills are recommended only 
for people 40 and younger, who are more likely than older people to 
get thyroid cancer, not everyone would need them.

The once-a-day pills are approved by the     Food and Drug 
Administration and must be started within four hours of exposure. 
Thyroid cancer would be a leading health concern, particularly among 
children, in the event of a radioactive iodine leak caused by an 
accident or a terrorist attack. 

Robert Claypool, director of the emergency preparedness planning 
office at the     Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 
acknowledges the government is way behind schedule.

He blames bureaucratic indecision during the past two years about 
which government agency - HHS or the     Homeland Security Department 
- should be in charge of the federal government's stockpile of drugs 
and anti-dotes for anthrax, smallpox and other diseases.

The dispute was resolved this year in favor of HHS. 

"All of us understand that more time has elapsed than Congress 
intended," Claypool said. "We're doing our best to try to comply with 

States have the option of stockpiling their own potassium iodide 

Under the bioterrorism law, HHS must offer guidelines to states on 
how to store, distribute and use them. HHS published guidelines for 
public comment in August. 

Claypool said the administration is pushing to get the program in 
place. But he added that officials are concerned that the pills, 
which protect the thyroid against inhaled or ingested radioactive 
iodine by saturating it with harmless potassium iodide, "will be 
overrelied on as a panacea" in lieu of evacuation and 

Alan Morris, president of Anbex, a company that sells the pills over 
the Internet, says the government could buy them for only 18 cents 
per pill. Most people would probably need to take the pills only a 
few days before the radiation dissipated.

Sandy Perle 
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations 
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc. 
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714 Extension 2306 
Fax:(949) 296-1144

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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