Preparations are underway to make medication available to residents and businesses in the west end of Chatham- Kent to protect the health of the public in the event of an unexpected release of nuclear radiation.
Precautionary measures are taken for people who live within the 80 kilometer Secondary Zone of any nuclear facility, even though an accident and discharge of radiation is unlikely. The Fermi 2 nuclear facility is in Monroe, Michigan and its Secondary zone encompasses a large part of Windsor Essex, and a small area along the west edge of Chatham-Kent that includes the communities of Lighthouse Cove, Tilbury, and Wheatley.
A program to provide medication to Windsor and Essex County residents in the Secondary Zone was announced on Oct 15. The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is working with the Ontario Government’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop and administer a plan for Chatham-Kent residents within the Secondary Zone. This map identifies the Secondary Zone area.
Homes and businesses within the Secondary Zone are encouraged to have potassium iodide (KI) tablets on hand. In the unlikely event of a release of radiation, the consumption of KI tablets is vital to protect the health of people. The tablets would only be consumed in the event of a nuclear emergency, and directions for properly taking the KI tablets would be provided by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. The medication is most effective when taken just before or within three hours of exposure to radioactivity.
Each household or business should have a two-day supply of KI tablets available. A two-day supply would consist of four tablets per adult, and two tablets per child. The risk of side effects from taking KI tablets is low for people with normal thyroid function.
The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is currently working on its plan to distribute medication to those Chatham-Kent residents living and working within Secondary Zone. Details will be released at a future date.
People who have questions can contact the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519-355-1071.
Those with questions specific to KI tablets and other personal health matters can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.