Jewish World Review June 13, 2002 / 3 Tamuz, 5762

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Consumer Reports

Government buys nuke treatment pills -- WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Federal government agencies early this week ordered hundreds of thousands of pills intended to help people exposed to radioactive iodine, the Washington Times reports in today's editions.

Some 350,000 doses of potassium iodine were purchased from a Mooresville, N.C., Internet company on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. officials announced the arrest of a man they say was planning to set off a "dirty" bomb -- a device with radioactive material wrapped around conventional explosives -- in the United States.

Troy Jones, president of, which sold the pills, told the Washington Times: "I think that what happened is that these people are privy to information that neither you or I know. Anytime an unsolicited government agency calls to make a mass purchase of potassium iodine, that's a signal something is amiss.

However, Homeland Security office spokesman Gordon Johnroe told the newspaper the purchases were part of an ongoing program and not related to the May 8 arrest of Jose Padilla, suspected in the "dirty" bomb plot. He said the government has been buying the pills for some time.

Johnroe told the Washington Times purchases were made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commissions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services. reported that it had sold about 4 million pills nationally and internationally so far in 2002, with about half the buys being made by U.S. government agencies. In 2000, the company sold a total of 20,000 pills.

Potassium iodine pills are sold in packages of 14 for $9.95, the Washington Times reported, making this week's purchases worth more than $248,000, barring bulk purchase discounts.

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