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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 82-84  

News and Information

Associate Editor, Radiation Protection and Environment C/o Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, 400085, India

Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2012

Correspondence Address:
Bhuwan C Bhatt
Associate Editor, Radiation Protection and Environment C/o Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, 400085
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Bhatt BC. News and Information. Radiat Prot Environ 2011;34:82-4

How to cite this URL:
Bhatt BC. News and Information. Radiat Prot Environ [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 Sep 18];34:82-4. Available from: http://www.rpe.org.in/text.asp?2011/34/1/82/93975

Radiation Risks and Radiation Protection Training for Healthcare Professionals: ICRP and The Fukushima Experience

(Contents extracted from the recent Invited Editorial by Vano E, Ohno K, Cousins C, Niwa O, Boice J.(2011), J. Radiol. Prot. 31, 285-7).

After the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident, medical doctors and health professionals were asked to provide medical support to members of the Japanese public who may have been exposed to radiation releases or may have inhaled or ingested radioactive substances. This mainly consisted of providing appropriate information regarding the level of risk and the potential health effects, as well as in some cases, conducting or supervising radiation or biological tests in order to decide if special medical care was necessary. In April 2011, the Main Commission of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) held a session in Seoul (Korea) on the Fukushima accident, in order to learn from the ongoing Japanese experience and to offer advice in the follow-up process. What happened during the weeks following the Fukushima accident vividly demonstrated the need for better training in radiation protection (RP) and the need for a better understanding of ionizing radiation on the part of medical and paramedical personnel, especially for those working in the local hospitals. The ICRP Publication 113(2009) on education and training in RP for medical professionals and students contains such advice for health authorities, universities, medical societies, and professionals.

During the weeks following the Fukushima accident, instances were reported of medical professionals refusing to attend to the population, as they feared potential self-contamination and irradiation. This behavior resulted from a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of both the risk of radiation incurred by the health professionals and the appropriate medical care required by the patients.

Health and regulatory authorities, medical, scientific, and professional societies, and universities and other groups with responsibilities in training programs need to emphasize how this terrible Japanese disaster has highlighted serious gaps in knowledge regarding radiation effects and radiological protection in the medical community and how critically important it is to improve this situation. In any emergency or accident, medical doctors and other health professionals are the first "reference" for advice and they should be able to answer questions calmly and from a position of knowledge, no matter how serious the situation is. In such cases, members of the public and workers, likely to be either real patients or simply worried persons, are ready to follow their advice.

Appropriate answers would have provided the required public assurance and minimized unnecessary anxiety. Clearly, the terrible tragedy of loss of loved ones, loss of livelihood, and evacuation from one's home provided sufficient long-lasting mental stress without adding an exaggerated radiation concern.

Psychological reasons and a lack of proper information have sometimes led to persons rejecting vegetables, avoiding water or milk without any grounds, with economic and social consequences of significant importance. Many people may run to hospitals, making triage difficult and blocking hospital resources for more urgent medical care. With a proper education and training in the basic aspects of radiation terminology, radiation effects, and RP, the management of the population near Fukushima would have been much more effective.

There was a need to inform population near Fukushima, workers in the nuclear power plants, pregnant women, and any person likely to be at risk without alarmism or exaggeration. It is important that the health system and professionals are in a position to provide proper advice and proper medical care without feeling inadequate due to a lack of knowledge. They, therefore, need to know about radiation and its biological effects and need to learn how to communicate the risks it engenders without causing undue alarm.

The catastrophe in Japan has proved that it is of the highest importance that all medical doctors and health professionals become acquainted with the basic concepts of RP. These basic concepts are summarized in the recent Invited Editorial by Vano et al. (2011), Radiation risks and radiation protection training for healthcare professionals: ICRP and the Fukushima experience. J. Radiol. Prot. 31, 285-7.

  1.Reference Top

ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) (2009) Education and Training in Radiological Protection for Diagnostic and Interventional Procedures. ICRP Publication 113; Ann. ICRP 39 1-68.

Communicating Radiation Risks to The Public

(Contents extracted from the Editorial by Timothy J. Jorgensen and Marko Moscovitch, Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 145, No. 4, 339-340(2011))

Radiation protection professionals work in a highly technical field, and use their own jargon-rich language to communicate with one another. For the most part, this works well. But the recent events surrounding the nuclear accident in Japan have compelled many health physicists to convey radiation exposure information to a largely non-technical lay public that is easily and understandably confused by the radiation reports that they were hearing on a daily basis.

There are two major mistakes that radiation professionals make when speaking to the public. The first is assuming that the public is technically knowledgeable and the second is assuming that the public is completely ignorant. Both assumptions are wrong and only add to the suspicion and distrust that the public may already feel toward scientific and engineering authorities.

In this editorial, the authors offer some suggestions to health physics professionals who may be called on to communicate radiation information to the public. It is further stated that they believe these simple recommendations will go a long way toward lessening confusion, stemming panic, and providing useful information to a public thirsting for credible radiation knowledge, particularly with regard to their own health risks. For further information, the reader may refer the editorial by the authors in Radiation Protection Dosimetry 145, No.4, 339- 340(2011).

  Recently Published Books and Proceedings of Conferences Top

1. Optically Stimulated Luminescence: Fundamentals and Applications

(Editors: E.G. Yukihara and S.W.S. McKeever. Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd., UK (2011))

The book covers recent advances in optically stimulated luminescence, including important applications in personnel dosimetry, medical dosimetry, space dosimetry, and other applications and concepts, mainly dealing with retrospective and accident dosimetry. This book will serve as a good reference material for practitioners, researchers, and graduate and post-graduate students in the field of luminescence and radiation dosimetry. A detailed review (by A. S. Pradhan) has appeared in a recent issue of Radiation protection Dosimetry 147, 619-622(2011).

2. Thermally and Optically Stimulated Luminescence: A Simulation Approach

(Editors: R. Chen and V. Pagonis; Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd., UK (2011))

The book mainly concentrates on simulation approach, which authors use to simulate various experimental situations by numerically solving the relevant coupled equations for chosen sets of parameters. It is a synthesis of the major developments in modeling and numerical simulations of thermally and optically stimulated processes during the past 50 years. The book is divided into 15 chapters which include theoretical basis of luminescence phenomena, basic experimental measurements, thermoluminescence, optically stimulated luminescence, analytical and approximate expressions of dose dependence, simultaneous TL and others types of measurements, radiophotoluminescence (RPL), effects of ionizing density on TL response, applications in medical physics, etc.

This book is designed for practitioners, researchers, and graduate and post-graduate students in the field of luminescence and radiation dosimetry. A detailed review (by Pradhan et al.) has appeared in a recent issue of Radiation Protection Dosimetry (2012), 1-4. doi:10.1093/rpd/ncr473.

3. Proceedings of 16 th Solid State Dosimetry Conference (SSD-16)

The 16 th Solid State Dosimetry (SSD) Conference was held from September 19 to 24, 2010, in Sydney, Australia. The conference was jointly organized by the University of Wollongong and by the International Organization of Solid State Dosimetry (ISSDO). This conference is part of a series which began in 1965 at Stanford and is held in important centers for solid-state dosimetry in the world every 3 years. SSD16 was attended by 267 participants from 34 countries. In total, there were 15 oral sessions with 97 oral presentations, including an invited speaker at each session. There were 275 poster presentations. A special new feature of SSD16 was a half-day parallel session, "Radiation and Dosimetry in Space and Avionics," chaired by US astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao. Another new feature was the half-day symposium, "Radiation Doses and Risk in Medicine," which reflected the underlying theme of SSD16. The proceedings feature almost 200 contributions. These are published in Radiat. Meas. 46, 1335-2110(2011).

4. European conference on individual monitoring of ionising radiation (IM2010)

Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 144, 1-699(2011).

This special issue of Radiation Protection Dosimetry journal constitutes the Proceedings of the European Conference on Individual Monitoring of Ionising Radiation (IM2010) held in Athens (Greece), from 8 to 12 March 2010.

IM2010 was the fourth of a series of conferences dealing with individual monitoring. It brought together scientists from regulatory authorities, individual monitoring services, research bodies, European networks and companies for the purpose of facilitating the dissemination of knowledge, exchanging experiences, and promoting new ideas in the field of individual monitoring. The main goal of the conference was to assist progress toward the harmonization of practices in individual monitoring across Europe.

From the total of 260 scientific papers contributed, 15 were invited lectures, 73 were given as oral presentations, and 172 were presented as posters. The scientific program was structured in nine sessions. Thematically, IM2010 focused on the new international and European standards and requirements, giving emphasis on the new EC recommendations for monitoring individuals occupationally exposed to external radiation, the results of inter-comparison exercises organized, novelties in external and internal dosimetry systems and techniques, individual monitoring in the medical sector and in emergency situations, as well as workplace monitoring. Education and training was also included in the conference program. These proceedings provide a full perspective of the IM2010 conference, confirming the important scientific and technical progress achieved, as well as highlighting the future challenges in individual monitoring.


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