[ RadSafe ] "Dirty Bomb" Treatment Technology Developed in U.K.

Mark Ramsay mark.ramsay at ionactive.co.uk
Tue Sep 15 11:56:17 CDT 2009


I agree with your comment and had much the same thoughts too.

Having done some work on CBRN related events, radiation exposure (for most affected persons) is way down the list of issues that face the population (like panic, conventional hazards including explosives, loss of amenity, financial issues, loss of transportation and so on).




-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of Brennan, Mike (DOH)
Sent: 15 September 2009 17:31
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] "Dirty Bomb" Treatment Technology Developed in U.K.

I am skeptical about the value of such a device, even assuming it actually works as advertised (far from a given).

In the dirty bomb scenario, I don't see a need to test large numbers of people for cellular damage.  The high radiation levels will be very localized before the detonation, and not much bigger afterwards.  There might well be a fair sized area that is contaminated at a much lower level, and a fair number of people might be contaminated, but they can be screened with hand held rad meters.  They can be deconned quickly, and it is hard to see that many, if indeed any, will experience "cellular damage".  And if someone isn't contaminated, then they didn't receive any cellular damage, and so there is no need to screen them.  

In the case of a nuclear explosion there will be people who receive radiation dose without being contaminated, but most of them will have more pressing, actually life threatening, injuries.  I can actually see a the device described costing lives, as some hospital administrator decides that the wounded should be screened before being treated. 

This looks like a technology in search of a problem to be applied to. 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of Garner, William H
Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 12:48 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] "Dirty Bomb" Treatment Technology Developed in U.K.

"Dirty Bomb" Treatment Technology Developed in U.K.
Monday, Sept. 14, 2009
New technology developed in the United Kingdom could enable doctors to more quickly treat a large number of people following exposure to a radiological "dirty bomb," the London Independent reported yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 14, 2007).

Scientists have created a suitcase-sized device that needs only a short amount of time to determine the level of cellular damage a person is suffering following exposure to radiation. The system, set to be publicly unveiled this week, could allow for hundreds of people to be tested in a period of hours.

Existing systems require blood to be drawn from potential victims and then extensively tested. No more than 100 samples could be tested each week at British laboratories, analysts say.

"If there was a major radiological or nuclear event the hospitals in this country could be overwhelmed," said Kai Rothkamm, an official with the British Health Protection Agency.

The new device could test 30 samples each hour (Nina Lakhani, London Independent, Sept. 13).

William H. Garner
University Of Kentucky
Radiation Safety Department
110 Dimock Animal Pathology
Lexington, KY  40506-0076
Office Phone (859)323-1009
Cell Phone (859)967-4296
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