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Availability of Potassium Iodide Tablets and Safety of Tap Water

[Via the US Embassy  Tokyo Warden Mesage]
From: American Embassy Tokyo <tokyoacs@state.gov>
Date: March 25, 2011 19:21:44 PDT
Subject:U.S. Embassy Warden Message to U.S. Citizens: March 26, 2011
Availability of Potassium Iodide Tablets

As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Embassy is continuing to make potassium iodide (KI) tablets available to private U.S. citizens who have not been able to obtain it from their physician, employer, or other sources.   We do not a recommend that anyone should take KI at this time. There are risks associated with taking KI.  It should only be taken on the advice of emergency management officials, public health officials or your doctor.  For more information about KI, see this fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control, http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp, or contact your doctor.

At this time, the tablets are available Monday through Friday (until further notice) at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo at 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 from 10:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m., and at theNew Sanno Hotel at 4-12-20, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo from 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.   On Saturday and Sunday (until further notice) there is also distribution at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 12 noon 4:00 p.m.  Allotments of KI tablets will be provided only upon presentation of a valid U.S. passport.  U.S. citizens may obtain an allotment for each family members valid U.S. passport presented.  If you do not have a valid passport, please contact the U.S. Embassy at 03-3224-5000.  An allotment of tablets will also be made available to a U.S. citizen for his/her non-citizen immediate family members upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of the relationship.

Please monitor our website at http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_5378.html for the most updated information.  Should you need further assistance, contact the Department of State by emailing JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov or calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Safety of Tap Water
The United States Government advises American citizens that, in accordance with guidelines that apply to water in the United States and based on analysis of tap water samples for radioactive iodine on March 24, 2011, the water in Tokyo is safe for drinking. U.S. Government officials are consulting with health experts and radiation experts, in both the United States and Japan, and are continuously monitoring the situation. If more information becomes available, we will share it with you on the Embassy Web site

[Via the Japan Times]

“The recommendation by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority that all Swedes who are staying within a radius of 250 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant to take iodide tablets every three days is still valid,” the embassy’s website, last updated Saturday, says. “Best protection against radioactive iodine is to take iodide tablets before the exposure, as doing so afterward will prove too late.”

According to the British Embassy, it has so far handed out about 1,500 doses to British citizens in Sendai, Niigata and Tokyo. But an embassy official added that the embassy considers it unlikely that the tablets will be necessary.

“We make it very very clear that we are giving these medicines out as a precaution,” the official said.

The central government of Japan, on the other hand, is only dispensing iodide tablets to people in the 20-km evacuation zone near the plant but is ready to distribute more to local residents outside the area.

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