Radiation and Potassium Iodide (KI)
What is Radiation?
Radiation is a form of energy found in both natural and man-made sources. It is present in the ground, air, food and our own bodies. On average, Americans receive a dose of about 300 millirems each year from natural background radiation. Additionally, Americans receive an average dose of about 300 millirems per year from man-made sources of radiation, including medical, commercial and industrial sources.
Did you know...
- If you lived next door to a nuclear power plant, you would receive far less radiation each year than you'd receive in just one round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York.
- Transparent plastic wrap used to package foods depends on radiation for its strength and clinging ability.
- 1000 millirems is the level at which federal guidelines may call for an evacuation.
- 8 millirems is the dose received from a single chest x-ray.
Potassium Iodide (KI)
NOTE: Take KI ONLY at the explicit direction of public health officials.
Potassium iodide (KI) is a chemical compound that contains iodine, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. In the unlikely event that there is a radioactive release from the plant during an emergency, public health officials may direct you to ingest KI. In pill form, KI can be used to help prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine that could be released during an emergency at a nuclear power plant.
Take KI only at the explicit direction of public health officials. This direction will be announced through the Emergency Alert System and the news media. KI is not an "anti-radiation" pill. It is a supplemental protective measure, secondary to evacuation or sheltering in place.
San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano distributed KI in the spring of 2010. If you did not participate in the program, you can still request KI through your city. When you submit your request, please provide your name, address, phone number and the number of persons living in your household. If you're a business, please provide the maximum number of employees present at any given time. Contact information for your city is located here. KI will be mailed to you in four to six weeks.