East of Paris Bookstore

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sooo Safe

We have a small refrigerator in our sitting room, and this morning was the time to clean it ... to get rid of antique ice cubes and old medications and batteries and water bottles.  I also found potassium iodide tables to be used in case of a nuclear accident.  According to the FDA, potassium iodide is supposed to prevent the thyroid gland from absorbing too much radiation thereby reducing the risk of thyroid cancer.

The post-mark on the envelope shows that in March of 2003 our all-so-knowing government sent us an envelope with four tablets of potassium iodide. These are designed to keep us "safe" in case there is a radiation leak from the nuclear power plant in whose 10-mile danger zone we abide.

Of course, we are warned to wait for direction from our public health officials before ingesting the tablets.  But, how will they know where to reach me?  How do they know that I will not be stuck on Interstate 5 going north (along with everyone else) to get away from the nuclear power plant?  Since the same all-knowing government recently nixed a toll road expansion, there are no alternate evacuation routes from nukes or tidal waves or other earthquake impacts.

Assuming the selfless public health officials risk their thyroids and come to my house to tell me to ingest my pills, will they work?  According to the Material Safety Data Sheet of Mallinckrodt Chemicals, "Prolonged storage is not recommended...."  Does storage in my refrigerator for the last 7 years count as "prolonged"?  If yes, has my all-knowing and caring government abandoned me?  Have they given everyone around us fresh tablets and left me out?  Hmmm.

Until I looked up the Mallinckrodt MSDS with its list of warnings, I had felt so safe.  Now I see that I have to take care of my own safety. So, rather then being stuck on roads that make quick evacuation a fiction, if I find out the nuclear power plant has a radiation leak, I think I'll just light a candle in front of our icons, drink the last of our Veuve Clicquot, tell Mr. Wonderful that I love him, and read a good book.  Aristotle's Politics and Poetics anyone?

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