Pre-Distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI) and Maintenance of KI Stockpile Called for in Advance of Multi-Organizational Meeting

ATA supports dialogue on the international harmonization of radiological emergency preparedness around nuclear power stations

The American Thyroid Association® is the leading organization devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health.  It has come to our attention that several organizations to include Greenpeace Canada, Beyond Nuclear and a coalition of Michigan civil society organizations jointly hold a meeting at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan for a dialogue on the international harmonization of radiological emergency preparedness around nuclear power stations.  One issue of particular concern is in regard to ensuring appropriate potassium iodine distribution within the emergency planning zone (EPZ) surrounding Fermi Unit 2 at the nuclear power station in Monroe, Michigan.

As stated in the American Thyroid Association® (ATA®) Scientific Statement on the Use of Potassium Iodide Ingestion in a Nuclear Emergency which was published in the journal Thyroid® in 2017 (Vol 27, Number 7; Pages: 865-877), the American Thyroid Association calls for pre-distribution of potassium iodide (KI) to individual households residing within a minimum of the 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) of an actively operating U.S. nuclear power plant.  The ATA also calls for maintenance of a stockpile of potassium iodine in a greater than 10 out to 50-mile ring out from nuclear power points and is to be held in local public facilities such as schools, hospitals, Clinics, post offices, and police as well as fire stations for distribution upon notification by local health officials.

The effectiveness of KI for protection of the thyroid from radioiodine fallout from a nuclear emergency is predicated on prompt use that at the same time does not delay evacuation from the affected area. It is therefore somewhat disconcerting that a study by the Michigan Department of Community Health published in 2012 found that only 5.3% of eligible residences in the EPZ of one of three nuclear power plants in MI had redeemed KI vouchers and of those individuals who had redeemed KI vouchers ~ 50% were unaware of when to take KI or that it could protect the thyroid from radiation exposure.  Of those identified as not having utilized a KI voucher, 48% were either unaware or had forgotten that such a program exists.

The ATA® would like to again emphasize that prophylactic KI administrator should be part of a nuclear emergency plan that includes evacuation, sheltering, and the avoidance of contaminated food, milk and water ingestion in the event of a nuclear emergency.  The ATA calls for ready access to KI for the U.S. population living in nuclear power EPZs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Pharmaceutical Stockpile under appropriate regulatory guidance. The ATA also supports attempts to harmonize KI distribution strategies with Canada particularly in US-Canadian border localities that fall within EPZs from the same nuclear power plant.


The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international, individual membership organization for over 1,700 clinicians and researchers from 43 countries around the world, representing a broad diversity of medical disciplines. It also serves the public, patients and their families through education and awareness efforts.

Celebrating its 95th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, Thyroid®, Clinical Thyroidology®, VideoEndocrinology™, and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators; support of online professional, public, and patient educational programs; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease.

Find out more about ATA at