Darlington Co. residents eligible for radiation-protection tablets

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina has received 1.2 million doses of potassium iodide for residents in Darlington County and other parts of South Carolina that lie within 10 miles of the nuclear power plants in or near the state.

"Potassium iodide provides additional protection for the thyroid gland against one form of radiation," according to DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. "It is critical to remember this is not a magic pill that protects against all types of radiation. In the event of a nuclear power plant emergency involving the release of radiation, the best advice is to follow the instructions of public safety officials to either stay inside or to evacuate the area in an orderly manner."

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has provided 2.4 million KI tablets, enough doses for 1.2 million adults, to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to distribute to health departments in 13 counties for residents living within a 10-mile radius of the five nuclear power plants in or adjacent to South Carolina. This includes Darlington County and Hartsville.

Residents in Darlington County can pick up the tablets themselves, beginning Monday, from two health departments in the county:

Darlington County Health Department 305 Russell Street; Darlington, S.C. 29532

Darlington County Health Department (Hartsville) 130 Camden Avenue;  Hartsville, S.C. 29550

Templeton said, "Our agency continues to explore ways to help the public understand that KI is not a radiation shield, and that residents should follow any recommendations given by the state in the event of a radiological release."

The expiration date for the new tablets is October 2017. Residents with tablets with a May 2013 expiration date should dispose of them once a new supply has been picked up.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.