[ RadSafe ] Re: ASU leads $40 million effort to rapidly assess radiation exposures

Jim Hardeman Jim.Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us
Wed Jan 6 18:56:58 CST 2010

Clayton --
My first answer would be that the traditional non-stochastic tools we currently have available (such as looking at the time of onset of vomiting) are pretty imprecise when dealing with large numbers of people in what will certainly be a high-stress environment. I certainly wouldn't feel confident telling somebody that if they began vomiting w/in an hour, that they might not make it -- or that if they don't vomit w/in 5 hours that they'll probably be OK. In the case of fallout, I don't know how one would even determine when exposure actually began.
I can't even conceive of doing lymphocyte depletion studies or dicentric chromosome assays on a large population.
I agree w/ you that there's plenty of time to deal with the folks who received non-stochastic doses.
My (additional) $0.02 worth ...

>>> Clayton J Bradt <cjb01 at health.state.ny.us> 1/6/2010 16:11 >>>

Jim Hardeman wrote:

...Based on the "Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation" document, which I assume you have seen, it is entirely likely in a nuclear detonation scenario that persons in the "dangerous fallout" zone could get significant radiation doses w/o experiencing confounding or more pressing medical issues -- and it's that population that public health folks will need to be able to assess -- and quickly. What these researchers are aiming for is the ability to rapidly assess the dose received by perhaps a million people (or more) quickly ...

My question is: What's the rush? Massive acute doses will manifest themselves by non-stochastic symptoms early on, and treatment given promptly - if available. The stochastic effects from smaller doses aren't treatable - so there's plenty of time to estimate doses. 

Clayton J. Bradt
Principal Radiophysicist

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