32,388 orders for iodide pills placed after false alarm at nuclear power plant

Iodide Pills

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) says there was a big surge in iodide pill orders in the two days following a false alarm about an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

According to The Canadian Press, OPG says there are normally between 100 and 200 orders per month. But after the false alarm was sent out Sunday morning, 32,388 were placed in just two days.

Potassium Iodide pills protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine and reduce the risk of cancer if it’s released into the air.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says taking KI during an emergency outweighs the risk of side effects. The pills are effective for up to 12 years if they are stored in a dry place between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Ontario’s solicitor general said initial observations suggest human error was responsible for the alert that was sent out during routine tests of the emergency alert.

People living within 50 kilometres of a nuclear facility can order the pills through a website called preparetobesafe.ca.