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Gross Alpha and Beta Activity Analyses in Urine—A Routine Laboratory Method for Internal Human Radioactivity Detection

Chen, Xiaowen*; Zhao, Luqian*; Qin, Hongran*; Zhao, Meijia*; Zhou, Yirui*; Yang, Shuqiang*; Su, Xu; Xu, Xiaohua*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000040
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The aim of this work was to develop a method to provide rapid results for humans with internal radioactive contamination. The authors hypothesized that valuable information could be obtained from gas proportional counter techniques by screening urine samples from potentially exposed individuals rapidly. Recommended gross alpha and beta activity screening methods generally employ gas proportional counting techniques. Based on International Standards Organization (ISO) methods, improvements were made in the evaporation process to develop a method to provide rapid results, adequate sensitivity, and minimum sample preparation and operator intervention for humans with internal radioactive contamination. The method described by an American National Standards Institute publication was used to calibrate the gas proportional counter, and urine samples from patients with or without radionuclide treatment were measured to validate the method. By improving the evaporation process, the time required to perform the assay was reduced dramatically. Compared with the reference data, the results of the validation samples were very satisfactory with respect to gross-alpha and gross-beta activities. The gas flow proportional counting method described here has the potential for radioactivity monitoring in the body. This method was easy, efficient, and fast, and its application is of great utility in determining whether a sample should be analyzed by a more complicated method, for example radiochemical and/or γ-spectroscopy. In the future, it may be used commonly in medical examination and nuclear emergency treatment.

Health Phys. 106(5):000-000; 2014

*Department of Nuclear and Radiation, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai, China; †Institute for Radiological Protection, China CDC, Dewaixinkang Street, 100088, Beijing, PR China.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Xiaohua Xu, Department of Nuclear and Radiation, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Zhengmin Road, 200433, Shanghai, PR China, or email at xiaohua621218@sina.com.

(Manuscript accepted 17 September 2013)

© 2014 by the Health Physics Society