Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Occupational Exposure to 131I—A Case Study

Muikku, Maarit; Huikari, Jussi; Korpela, Helinä; Lindholm, Carita; Paile, Wendla; Parviainen, Teuvo*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000147

In a laboratory in a company manufacturing radiopharmaceuticals, a laboratory technician was contaminated with 131I. The employee was preparing 131I capsules for thyroid carcinoma treatment. The employee was wearing two pairs of protective gloves and, when changing gloves, noticed a rupture in the right inner glove but no visible rupture in the outer glove. Only 3-4 h later, routine monitoring revealed heavy contamination of the back of the right hand. Immediate actions to decontaminate the hand were taken on-site. Stable iodine was not administered. On the next day, besides persisting heavy contamination of the hand, 131I was also detected in the thyroid gland. Based on original measurements on-site and later follow-up at STUK, including surface contamination measurements and whole body counting, the original 131I activity on the hand was estimated at 12 MBq and the superficial skin dose at 33 Gy, affecting a skin area of about 10 cm2. The thyroid dose was estimated at 430 mGy. Eleven days after the incident, the skin was dry and slightly desquamated. After 15 d, the skin was intact with no desquamation left. No further signs of skin damage have occurred. Cytogenetic analysis of circulating lymphocytes indicated a slight elevation of chromosomal aberrations.

*STUK—Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, P.O. Box 14, FIN‐00881, Helsinki, Finland.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Maarit Muikku, STUK—Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, P.O. Box 14, FIN‐00881, Helsinki, Finland, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 15 April 2014)

© 2014 by the Health Physics Society