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Cremation of Bodies Containing Radiation Is Harmful

Cremation of Bodies Containing Radiation Is Harmful

On 2017, a 69-year-old American man who had obtained merely lutetium 177-based mostly radiation therapy for his pancreatic most cancers died. Five days later, his stays had been cremated. Three weeks later, Kevin Nelson, a radiation security officer on the Mayo Clinic Arizona, began to fret. Nelson discovered of the person’s death with a little bit of a delay, as he had been killed in one other hospital.

In Florida, the place Nelson had labored earlier than, cremating human stays contaminated with radioactive substances was unlawful. However, was it unlawful in Arizona? No, it seems. There isn’t legislation on the books on the difficulty, Nelson was instructed by the southwestern state’s bureau of radiation management.

That workplace’s specialists determined nonetheless to measure radiation ranges on the crematorium, with Nelson in tow. “It was simply happenchance” that Nelson had confronted an analogous state of affairs earlier than, he advised AFP. One other physician may not have even considered it. A Geiger-Mueller counter was put involved with the cremation unit, a vacuum filter, and a bone crusher: hint quantities of lutetium have been detected. Investigators took urine samples from the ability’s operator.

No comparable traces of lutetium had been discovered… however faint traces of one other radioactive substance, technetium 99—extensively utilized by hospitals for diagnostic testing—appeared. The crematorium employee possible was contaminated by inhaling technetium when the stays of one other affected person have been incinerated. At an excessive temperature, the molecules would have vaporized within the air.

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David Richardson

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