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Submitted by Fintan Bradley, Medical Physics Department, Cork University Hospital
   Commenting as an individual
Document The scope of radiological protection
 
Section 60 of this document refers to the discharge from hospital of a patient who has received Iodine-131. I would be grateful for some clarification of this paragraph with respect to the relatively recent ICRP 94 publication.

ICRP 94 appears to lend credence to the idea that this has been a heavily regulated area and that the practical consequences of discharge have been shown to be minimal over many years of study. For example, the use of 'holding tanks' is commented on and in a manner which would lead the reader to consider their non-use as eminently reasonable.

The report also gives considerable voice to the (apparently) more detailed American assessment of doses to members of the public and carers following release of a patient. The result of this approach (if my memory serves me correctly) is that many American patients are released following an ablative dose of Iodine-131 with a very short or non-existent hospital stay.

Paragraph 60 cites an anomalous situation in regulation of radioactive discharges. The Commission expresses concern about this in relation to Iodine-131. The thrust of this position seems at odds with ICRP 94 and will surely lead to the wider use of 'holding tanks' and the retention of patients in hospital for even greater periods of time.

Can the Commission not 'bite the bullet' and provide clear advice on what it considers a reasonable 'activity in the body' prior to discharge and the use of holding tanks?

The general thrust of the two publications (ICRP 94 and paragraph 60 of 'The Scope of Radiological Protection') seem to differ markedly.

Yours sincerely
Fintan Bradley
Principal Physicist
Radiotherapy Physics