Surge in iodide pill orders after false alarm at Ontario nuclear power plant


An emergency alert message on an iPhone is pictured in Carleton Place, Ont., on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. Ontarians have placed more than 32,000 orders for iodide pills in the two days following a false alarm about an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Ontario Power Generation says there are normally between 100 and 200 orders per month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

An emergency alert message on an iPhone is pictured in Carleton Place, Ont., on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. Ontarians have placed more than 32,000 orders for iodide pills in the two days following a false alarm about an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Ontario Power Generation says there are normally between 100 and 200 orders per month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO – Ontarians have placed more than 32,000 orders for iodide pills in the two days following a false alarm about an incident at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

Ontario Power Generation says there are normally between 100 and 200 orders per month.

OPG says there were 32,388 orders placed between Sunday and Monday.

An alert Sunday morning warning of an unspecified problem at the nuclear facility was sent in error to cellphones, radios and TVs across the province.

People living within 50 kilometres of a nuclear facility can order the potassium iodide (KI) pills through a website called preparetobesafe.ca.

The pills help protect the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of cancer if radioactive iodine is released into the air.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says people should only take KI pills on instructions from public health officials in the event of a nuclear emergency.

This story by the Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2020.