The Regional Municipality of Durham


News Release

Health Department reminds residents and businesses near nuclear generating stations to obtain supply of KI pills

WHITBY, ON October 12, 2016 - Durham Region Health Department is encouraging area residents and businesses, and those who are new to the communities where nuclear generating stations are located, to ensure that they have their supply of Potassium Iodide (KI) pills readily available.

As directed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), all homes and businesses within the 10-kilometre primary zone of a nuclear generating station, must be provided with KI pills in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency involving the release of radioactive iodine. As a result, the Health Department, in partnership with Ontario Power Generation (OPG), provides KI pills to all Durham Region homes and businesses within 10 kilometres of the Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating stations. Pills can be obtained by visiting preparetobesafe.ca or by calling the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.

A serious nuclear accident is extremely unlikely and would likely take many hours and days to unfold. The Pickering nuclear generating station has operated for over 40 years without a serious accident, while the Darlington nuclear generating station has operated for over 25 years, also without a serious accident.

“In October 2015, the Health Department and OPG embarked on a campaign to implement the CNSC’s directive of providing KI pills to all homes and businesses within the 10-kilometre primary zone,” explained Ken Gorman, Director, Environmental Health with the Health Department. “Through that initial campaign, over 200,000 packages of KI pills were distributed to homes and business located in these areas of Durham Region by the end of 2015.

“This current public awareness initiative is to remind area residents and businesses to confirm that they have their supply of KI pills and also to ensure that anyone who is new to the area is aware of the availability of KI pills for their residence or business.”

KI is a stable iodine salt, effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in the event of a radioactive iodine release. Prior to the changes introduced by the CNSC, the pills had been available free of charge to the public at select pharmacies in Durham Region, and to all health care facilities, long-term care homes, child care centres and emergency service providers within the primary zones. The CNSC changed the requirements due to increased safety standards. The pills should only be taken when instructed to do so by Ontario’s Chief Medical officer of Health in the event of a nuclear accident.

To assist residents or businesses with questions about KI pills or the distribution of KI pills within their community, staff from the Health Department will be participating at upcoming OPG-CNSC community information sessions being held throughout October. All information sessions are open the public to drop-in anytime from 5 to 9 p.m. Each session will also include a presentation at 7 p.m. Sessions will be held on Oct. 20 at Pickering Recreational Centre, 1867 Valley Farm Rd., Oct. 26 at McLean Community Centre, 95 Magill Dr., Ajax, and Oct. 27 at the OPG Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, 1675 Montgomery Park. Rd, Pickering.

For more information or to obtain a supply of KI pills, visit preparetobesafe.ca, or call the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999, or glendene.collins@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.