image of barnstable county courthouse

New stock of Potassium Iodide (KI) pills available for the general public

BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment (BCDHE) announces the availability of Potassium Iodide (KI) pills for the general public at Cape and Islands health departments.

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Ch. 111, Sec. 5K, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has released a new stock of KI pills. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is overseeing the restocking of KI pills to local Cape and Island health departments. The last restocking took place in 2007 and that inventory of KI is approaching expiration.

KI is a chemical compound that can be used to protect the thyroid gland from possible injury caused by radioactive iodine (radioiodine). Some radiological emergencies may release radioiodine to the environment. Because iodine concentrates in the thyroid gland, inhalation or ingestion of food contaminated with radioiodine can cause health effects to the thyroid. Taking KI saturates the thyroid gland with stable (non-radioactive) iodine. This prevents or reduces the amount of radioiodine that can be taken up by the thyroid.

Members of the general public, particularly those with children, are encouraged to take advantage of the availability of KI pills, at no charge, and obtain them from their local health departments. The BCDHE recommends adding KI pills to household emergency kits. Citizens wishing to stock KI pills in their emergency kits are asked to contact their local health departments for information on picking up the pills.

For more information on KI contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Radiation Control Program at 617-242-3035 or visit the web site at