Post Office Prepares for "Dirty Bombs"

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The U.S. Postal Service is taking a proactive step, in case our country is attacked with a radioactive bomb. The post office is buying 1.6 million potassium iodide pills for its workers.

The tablets could reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in the event of a dirty bomb made with radioactive iodine. The potassium iodide will be offered to all postal workers nationwide. The pills would be used in case of an emergency.

So far, workers at Pueblo's main post office have not been told about the distribution of potassium iodide tablets. Only a few have learned about the plan. "The government has a contingency plan for everything, and any kind of pill that anyone would take---It's a personal choice," said one employee.

You don't need a prescription to get potassium iodide. The tablets are easy to buy on the Internet. Dr. Joel Ohlsen is a cancer specialist at Saint Mary Corwin Hospital. "If you knew an explosion were about to occur or had just occurred there would be a risk of radioactive iodine. At that point, potassium iodide might be of some help."

Taking the potassium iodide could reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in that scenario. But prolonged use of the tablets can also damage the thyroid.