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Potassium Iodide give-away starts Oct. 19

The Mecklenburg County Health Department and health departments from neighboring counties will begin giving away doses of potassium iodide on October 19 to people living near the area's two nuclear power plants.

October 8, 2002


Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department will distribute potassium iodide tablets on Saturday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 22. The potassium iodide, or KI, is for those living in the 10-mile Emergency Protection Zones (EPZ) surrounding the McGuire and Catawba Nuclear Power Plants.  Residents within the 10-mile EPZ are not required to accept the KI.

In order to make the distribution process as convenient as possible, pick-up will be at six locations.  Carpooling is encouraged to further limit the traffic load.  Those living in the 10-mile EPZ may pick-up their household's allotment of KI at either of the following locations:

Locations for Potassium Iodide Distribution

  • Davidson United Methodist Church   233 South Main Street, Davidson, NC
  • Bethel Presbyterian Church 19920 Bethel Church Road, Cornelius, NC
  • North Mecklenburg High School  11201 North Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, NC
  • Hornet's Nest Park 6301 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 
  • Charlotte Coliseum 100 Paul Buck Blvd., Charlotte, NC
  • Samaritan's Purse 2345 Township Road, Charlotte, NC 

Distribution Times for ALL LOCATIONS:
Saturday, Oct. 19  9:00am - 3:00pm
and Tuesday, Oct. 22  3:00pm - 8:00pm

The Health Department is working with several local pharmacy chains to encourage them to stock potassium iodide for those unable to make either distribution date.  Those locations will be posted on the Health Department's Web site, as they become available.

In the event of a threatened or actual nuclear power plant release, evacuation remains the best course of action for protecting your health.  Potassium iodide is not a replacement for evacuation.  It does not provide protection from full body irradiation or other radioactive elements that may be the result of a nuclear power plant release.  Potassium iodide only protects the thyroid gland from one form of radiation. 

If there were an actual nuclear release, it would likely contain many types of radiation that may affect additional organs in the body.

Potassium iodide is a type of salt that is added to table salt in small amounts to "iodize" the salt so that people have sufficient iodine in their diets to maintain normal, healthy thyroid function.  KI is also a non-prescription medication that is used to protect the thyroid gland in the event of a radiological emergency.  If taken at the appropriate time and at the proper dosage, KI blocks the thyroid gland's uptake of radioactive iodine, thereby reducing the risk of thyroid cancer.

KI is considered safe for most people but can cause minor side effects such as gastrointestinal disturbances and rashes.  Those who are allergic to iodine should not take KI.  People who are not sure if they can take KI should talk to their doctor.  Do not take KI unless public health officials tell you to do so.

For more information about potassium iodide, please refer to the attached information sheet.  This is the same information sheet that will accompany the product given to each household.  You can also log on to the Mecklenburg County Health Department's Web site at  Look for the front-page link to: "Information about KI."  Questions can also be sent to the City-County Public Information phone number at 704-336-7600.
Potassium Iodide Distribution Sites in surrounding counties:

  • Catawba County-Sherrills Ford EMS Base off Hwy 150 on Mt. Pleasant Road
  • Gaston County-Saturday, Oct. 19: Forestview High School, 5545 Union Road in Gastonia, NC

Tuesday, Oct. 22:

  • Pinewood Elementary School, 1925 N. Main Street in Mt. Holly, NC
  • Iredell County-Location1: St. Therese Catholic Church, 217 Brawley School Road
  • Location2: Food Lion Grocery Store, 835 Williamson Road Near I77, Exit 33
  • Lincoln County-Location1: Denver United Methodist Church, 3910 N. Hwy. 16 in Denver, NC
  • Location 2: East Lincoln Community Center, Optimist Club Rd. in Denver, NC
  • Location 3: Hills Chapel United Methodist Church, 988 S. Hwy. 16 in Stanley, NC

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