Newburyport Residents Make Rush On Potassium Iodide Pills

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) — There’s a new demand for radiation-blocking pills in the city of Newburyport, in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster. 

Plum Island resident Jack Van Loan just went to city hall to refresh his supply of potassium iodide tablets because he lives within a ten mile radius of the Seabrook Nuclear power plant, and worries that accidents can happen. 

“Only in the worst case scenario. But I live here knowing the plant is only six miles away,” he said. 

Residents in all communities within the ten mile radius are entitled to the pills, which are supplied by the state. Potassium iodide can protect people from radiation-induced thyroid cancer in the event of an emergency.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

Newburyport’s board of health director Bob Bracey says he’s never received any calls about the pills until last Friday.

“I think people see the news media, the sense of fear going on around the world.  People have a sense of comfort knowing they have it,” Bracey said. 

The news of the earthquake and tsunami heavily damaging Japan’s reactors, causing a radiation leak, has caught the public’s attention.  Some see it as a wake-up call that suddenly prompted at least 100 calls to Bracey’s city hall office.  He says there is an ample supply of 1,100 pills, and at least 200 have been distributed so far. 

Jack Van Loan says the script for Seabrook may never be the same as Japan but believes “it doesn’t take a tsunami to have an accident, there are other ways it can possibly happen.” 

The pills, he says, are just insurance.

More from Beth Germano
  • emom

    Living in a state with a nuclear power plant is scary, Never knowing if a potential leak could happen. I live close enough to plymouth but I could be still in the path of seebrook. All it would take is a southerly wind, I feel bad for japan, and pray they do manage to control and contain the leak, as for the japan leak reaching here, we may get a small amount but nothing that would do damage. But for many its scary wither way.

  • Dave S

    When we have a large earthquake, which WILL happen, Seabrook will be in big big trouble!!

    Let’s build more nuclear plants!!

    Stupid stupid stupid!

    If you have to build something and put sirens around a radius of it just in case it fails, it should NEVER be built in the first place!

  • tnpitgal

    Iodine pills Only protect your throid. They don’t protect your Heart, Liver, or Lungs. Remember what Yall voted for?

  • michlin

    When we have a large earthquake!? Last time I looked we are still on the east coast – y’all

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