JUNEAU, Alaska — State lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday on the Japanese nuclear crisis, where they learned the federal stockpile of radiation medicine is not as close as some of them previously thought.
Officials from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services testified that it would be up to the Centers for Disease Control to send pills like potassium iodide up to Alaska from the lower 48; if it became clear the state faced a credible threat.
“The plan is much like what we did with H1N1,” said Chris Laborde, Preparedness Program Manager for the Division of Public Health.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) organized Tuesday’s hearing and said his office is now looking into why the pills are not kept in-state. Wielechowski said he’s concerned it would take too long to get the medicine out to rural communities in an emergency.
State health officials also testified Tuesday that there is no immediate or anticipated threat of harmful radiation levels from the recent Japanese event reaching Alaska. They said Alaska's seafood industry is unlikely to be affected.