The state of Illinois wants to help people who live near nuclear power plants be prepared in case of an emergency. This week, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced free potassium iodide pills will soon be available. Potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland which is the most susceptible part of the body to radiation exposure.
Spokeswoman Patti Thompson says vouchers will be mailed next month to people who live close to Illinois' six nuclear plants - in the "emergency planning zones" (10 mile radius). She emphasizes potassium iodide only provides limited protection, and that the best protection against radiation exposure is evacuation or going to a shelter.
More information, and a list of participating Walgreens stores, are available at ready.illinois.gov. The vouchers can be exchanged for a free two-day supply of pills, for each member of the family.
Illinois Public Radio's Herb Trix contributed to this report