Morecambe Bay Health Authority, Tenterfield, Kendal.
BACKGROUND:The Barrow-in-Furness stable iodine (potassium
iodate) tablet pre-distribution scheme was the first of its kind to be
introduced to protect the population living around a fixed site nuclear
facility in the United Kingdom.
Pre-distribution schemes have attracted critical comment principally because the certainty of availability of potassium iodate tablets was unknown. This study aimed to establish the
reliability of such a scheme.
METHOD: A structured interviewer-administered
survey of a random sample of households served by the pre-distribution scheme was carried out using a standardized questionnaire.
RESULTS: The ability of this scheme to provide stable iodine protection declined from 100 per cent to 60 per cent coverage over a period of two years for the designed worst-case demand (the ability to supply stable iodine tablets to all household residents normally living within the pre-distribution scheme zone).
Pre-distribution has value in areas where evacuation to a centre where stable iodine tablets are available or post-accident distribution to sheltering households is difficult. The value of such a scheme must be calculated against a predictable decline in its effectiveness. In implementing such a scheme it should be noted that this decline in coverage can be reduced by calculating the frequency with which tablet packs are redistributed to take account of
PMID: 11469363 [PubMed - indexed for