The Ocean County Health Department is providing free potassium iodide pills to people who live or work within 10 miles of the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township.
Oyster Creek is the oldest nuclear plant in the U.S. and is scheduled to close in 2019. It is owned by Exelon.
Potassium iodide, or KI, pills can provide protection for the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine and can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer after a nuclear emergency, said Daniel E. Regenye, county public health coordinator.
The tablets are being offered as a preparedness measure and not in response to any danger, Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little said in a news release.
Health officials will notify the public when to take the tablet if there is an emergency, Regenye said.
The tablets are being offered to those living or working in Barnegat Light, Barnegat Township, Beachwood, Beach Haven, Berkeley Township, Toms River, Harvey Cedars, Island Heights, Lacey Township, Long Beach Township, Pine Beach, Ocean Township, Ocean Gate, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, South Toms River, Stafford Township and Surf City.
Health Department officials ask residents to check their current supply to identify whether their pills are due to expire in March.
Four sites have been set up for this distribution:
• Berkeley Township: 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Central Regional High School (east entrance), 509 Forest Hills Parkway, Bayville
• Lacey Township: 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Community Center, 101 N. Main St., Forked River
• Ocean Township: 3 to 7:30 p.m. March 8 at the county Fire and First Aid Training Center, 200 Volunteer Way, Waretown
• Stafford Township: 4 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, at the county Southern Service Center, 179 S. Main St., Manahawkin
In addition, the pills will be distributed 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the county Health Department, 175 Sunset Ave., Toms River.
Residents who wish to receive the tablets must bring some type of identification to show they live or work within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone.
This includes a driver’s license, property tax record, utility bill, employee ID card or paycheck stub. Additionally, one family member can pick up tablets for all members of the family.
Residents with questions regarding KI tablets and distribution can call 732-341-9700, ext. 7503, or see the Health Department website at ochd.org.