[ RadSafe ] “Dirty Bomb” Material in Use Across Canada

Clayton J Bradt cjb01 at health.state.ny.us
Tue Mar 4 15:51:59 CST 2008

“Dirty Bomb” Material in Use Across Canada
Irradiation devices containing what a U.S. study called a potential
radiological “dirty bomb” ingredient remain in use in nearly 100 Canadian
hospitals, universities and blood banks, the Canwest News Service reported
Friday (see GSN, Feb. 21).
The machines contain cesium chloride, a “highly dispersible” form of
radioactive cesium 137, according to a February report by the U.S. National
Research Council. The National Academy of Sciences body has called for the
devices to “be replaced in the United States and, to the extent possible,
Uses for the devices include irradiating blood prior to transfusion. Canada
currently has 94 of the devices in use, the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission told Canwest. The board said it monitors the “sealed sources” of
cesium chloride in the machines on a “cradle-to-grave” basis, tracking
“where they are located and when they are transferred between locations.”
Natural Resources Canada said it plans this week to respond to the U.S.
report’s call to replace the machines.
MDS Nordion, a top Canadian nuclear medicine firm, has sold about 400
cesium chloride irradiators in the United States, the U.S. study says. The
company said it has sold 65 of the machines in Canada (Randy Boswell,
Canwest News Service, Feb. 29).
Wisely, Nordion also markets X-ray based blood irradiators.

Clayton J. Bradt
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