Red Ice News

The Future is the Past

Radioactive Cancer Patients: Public Health Menace?
New to Red Ice? Start Here!

Radioactive Cancer Patients: Public Health Menace?

Source: cbsnews.com
Are Americans being exposed to dangerous radiation from thyroid cancer patients discharged from the hospital following treatment with radioactive iodine? A new congressional study suggests that’s a possibility, and some legislators are concerned.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) used to require that patients remain in the hospital a few days after swallowing doses of radioactive iodine used to shrink their tumors.

Those restrictions were eased a few years ago, and the study indicates that allowing patients to leave the hospital before excess radiation is excreted through sweat, saliva and urine may have been a bad idea.

"There is a strong likelihood that members of the public have been unwittingly exposed to radiation from patients," Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., wrote Wednesday in a letter to the NRC that details findings by his staff.

About 40,000 people a year develop thyroid cancer, and certain types are treated by swallowing radioactive iodine, or iodine 131. It takes about a week for a patient to "de-radioactivate," but many patients are sent right home. They are given instructions on how to minimize exposure to others, although it is unclear whether the radiation exposure occurs at levels high enough to cause harm.

Although the NRC says they are supposed to sleep alone, avoid public transportation, and avoid hugging and kissing children, staffers on the House Energy and Environment subcommittee who conducted a survey of more than 1,000 thyroid cancer patients found that many patients ignored the rules or weren’t informed.

The investigation found that:


~A patient who had received a dose of radioactive iodine boarded a bus in New York the same day, triggering radiation detectors as the bus passed through the Lincoln Tunnel heading for Atlantic City, N.J. State police officers determined that the patient had ignored instructions to avoid public transportation for two days.

~About 7 percent of outpatients said they had gone directly to a hotel after their treatment, most with their doctors’ knowledge.. In 2007, an Illinois hotel was contaminated after linens from a patient’s room were washed together with other bedding. The incident would probably have gone unreported but for nuclear plant workers who later stayed in the same hotel and set off radiation alarms when they reported to work.

~About one-fourth of outpatients said they never discussed with their doctors how to avoid exposing pregnant women and children to radiation. The survey found 56 cases in which a patient shared a bathroom or bedroom with a pregnant woman or a child, or had other close contact.

~At least two states -- Maryland and Massachusetts -- said they had encountered problems with household trash from the homes of patients treated with radioactive iodine. Garbage trucks set off radiation alarms at landfills, requiring loads to be unpacked and examined, exposing sanitation workers to a range of hazards.


Article from: cbsnews.com

Comments

We're Hiring

We are looking for a professional video editor, animator and graphics expert that can join us full time to work on our video productions.

Apply

Help Out

Sign up for a membership to support Red Ice. If you want to help advance our efforts further, please:

Donate

Tips

Send us a news tip or a
Guest suggestion

Send Tip

Related News

History in the making? DNA nanobots to target cancer cells in test patients
History in the making? DNA nanobots to target cancer cells in test patients
Connecticut declared in state of ‘public health emergency,’ prepares for quarantine
Connecticut declared in state of ‘public health emergency,’ prepares for quarantine

Archives Pick

Red Ice T-Shirts

Red Ice Radio

3Fourteen

How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
Yoko Mada - How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
European Cooking & Philosophy
Elisabeth - European Cooking & Philosophy

TV

How Cult Leader Charles Manson Was Made
Jay Dyer - How Cult Leader Charles Manson Was Made
What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?
Patrick Le Brun - What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?

RSSYoutubeGoogle+iTunesSoundCloudStitcherTuneIn

Design by Henrik Palmgren © Red Ice Privacy Policy