Arizona crematorium has been tested hot for radioactive contamination, and the likely source is a cremated man who had been treated for cancer shortly before he died, a new study found. cremation of cancer patients treated with "radiopharmaceuticals," according to Nathan Yu, lead author of the study, and a standing physician at the radiation oncology department at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. But so far no pollution has been reported for a facility.
Injection of radioactive compounds is increasingly being used to diagnose and treat cancer as they can be used to deliver radiation to specifically targeted tumor cells. Given their alarming findings at the Arizona Crematorium, Yu and his colleagues call for a more systematic approach to addressing this safety challenge. There are no federal rules for open bodies, resulting in the creation of a mosaic of state regulation, according to their letter published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Arizona does not currently have such rules.
The results were not surprising for Marco Kaltofen, a nuclear scientist at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, who did not participate in the study. "They happened to catch this case because they usually do not look," he said.
A 69-year-old man was treated last year at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for cancer through a general ambulatory procedure involving the injection of radioactive compounds into the veins. He did not feel well, and the next day he settled in another hospital and died soon. The place where his body was cremated did not know about the last cancer treatment.
When Mayo's clinic staff discovered the sudden death of their patient, they took steps, including the state radiation control office, which led to a crematorium study. About a month after the person was treated with luteus Lu 1
Detection of radioactive contamination with lutetium "is something we were looking for," said Yu. "But there was an unexpected discovery of another radio-isotope," specifically, technetium Tc 99m in the urine of the crematorium operator- suggesting that radioactive contamination in crematoria is a more widespread problem.
Technetium is also commonly used in the treatment of cancer. Since the operator was not exposed to medical treatment, the researchers suspect that the exposure comes from the treatment and cremation of another body.
"The safety rules are well established for radiopharmaceuticals in living patients. But they represent a unique challenge after death, Yu said. This is because the cremation of an exposed patient can release hot particles in the air that can be inhaled by crematorium workers.
Both cases of radioactive contamination – the cremator equipment and the operator Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"I believe the situation described in the article is possible, but also that the likely exposures are very low," said Chris Wypple, who previously served as chairman of the board of the National Academy of Radioactive Waste Management. He said one of his friends had been treated for prostate cancer, including a procedure whereby radioactive seeds were implanted in his body, and his friend had to sign a document in which he agreed that he would not be cremated if he died in the recent months.