131I Activity in Urine to the Sewer System Due to Thyroidal Treatments : Health Physics

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131I Activity in Urine to the Sewer System Due to Thyroidal Treatments

Andrés, C.*; Barquero, R.; Tortosa, R.*; Nuñez, C.; del Castillo, A.*; Vega-Carrillo, H. R.§; Alonso, D.*

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Health Physics 101(2):p S110-S115, August 2011. | DOI: 10.1097/HP.0b013e318209459c


In nuclear medicine, estimating the radioactivity contained in the urine of patients treated with 131I and discharged to the environment could prevent the exposure of a population to radioactive effluents and the pollution of the aquatic environment with ionizing radiation. This can be a regulatory requirement (as in Spain) or requested by the sewer authority. Seventy-nine differentiated thyroid cancer cases (undergone as inpatients) and 187 hyperthyroidism cases (undergone as outpatients) were treated in our hospital with 131I throughout the year 2009. In hyperthyroidism treatments, the effective elimination constant was used to calculate the corresponding discharged activity in the urine, giving an activity level always bellow 0.7 GBq. In differentiated thyroid cancer treatments, patient's urine was collected in storage tanks during the hospitalization. Measurements of external exposure at 1 m made every day were used to calculate the activity contained in the urine. The tank activity was always below 15 GBq, but always higher than 2 GBq. Obtained results show that effective doses to sewage workers, received from liquid discharges, can only be reduced to less than 10 μSv if storage tanks are installed. Without tanks, 157 μSv can be reached, above the constrain dose used in nuclear installations (100 μSv). Our calculations may be helpful to the regulatory authority to review the clinical radiation waste normative, especially in countries where the discharges are released directly into public sewage plants.

©2011Health Physics Society

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