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Radioactive Materials (RAM) Environmental Health Division Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Radiological Issues: An Overview. Presentation. Objective: to increase awareness and understanding of key radiation concepts and terminology Research Findings

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Radioactive Materials (RAM)

Environmental Health Division

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

Radiological Issues: An Overview


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Presentation

Objective: to increase awareness and understanding of key radiation concepts and terminology

  • Research Findings

  • Basic Radiation Principles

  • Common Uses

  • Measurement and Health Effects

  • Potential Threats

  • Response

  • Roles of the MDH


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Exposure to radiation can come from the soil, air, and water.

True or False? Check what you know!

T

F

T

F


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As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) principles are primarily used to protect the public.

True or False?

T

F

T

F


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In a radiation emergency, MDH staff would help recommend protective actions for the public, such as evacuate, shelter in place, or relocate.

True or False?

T

F

F

T


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Amounts of radioactive, biological, and chemical agents all can be measured right away.

True or False?

T

F

T

F


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Three basic safety factors to protect yourself from radiation are distance, shielding, and time.

True or False?

T

F

T

F


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Exposure to radiation can come from the soil, air, and water.

ALARA principles are primarily used to protect the public.

In a radiation emergency, MDH staff would help recommend protective actions for the public, such as evacuate, shelter in place, or relocate.

Amounts of radiation, biological, and chemical agents all can be measured right away.

Three basic safety factors in protecting yourself from radiation are distance, shielding, and time.

True or False… Summary

T

F

F

T

T


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CDC Research Findings: water.Medical professionals need more information.

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/pdf/hospitalroundtablereport.pdf, accessed 12/22/2004


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Basic Radiation Principles water.

Radiation is energy released from unstable elements. The energy is released until the element is stable.

This may take a fraction of a second or billions of years depending upon the element.


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Basic Radiation Principles… continued… water.

Decay (decrease in the radioactivity) can be determined using half-lives.

A “half-life” is the time it takes for an isotope to reduce its activity by one half…


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

This means that if, an element has a half-life of five years:

1/2 of the radiation would be present in 5 years

1/4 of the radiation would be present in 10 years

1/8 of the radiation would be present in 15 years

1/16 of the radiation would be present in 20 years

1/32 of the radiation would be present in 25 years


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

U-238 has a 4.47 billion year half-life

Cesium-137 has a 30 year half-life

Cobalt-60 has a 5 year half-life

Iodine-131 has an 8 day half-life

Other sources of ionizing radiation may decay faster, causing less exposure.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/ accessed 12/23/2004


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

Radiation is everywhere, coming from:

  • the solar system

  • the atmosphere

  • the earth (soil, rocks, and water) and

  • man-made sources.

    You cannot see, smell, or feel it.


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

Types of radiation include:

Alpha () and Beta () Particles

and

Gamma () and X-rays


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

  • Alpha (a) particles can be blocked by a piece of paper.

  • Beta (b) particles can be blocked by a firefighter’s turnout gear, but not a piece of paper.

  • If exposed, wash off particles well with soap and water in a timely manner.

    • Note: If particles are ingested, inhaled, or enter the body through wounds, medical attention is recommended.


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Basic Radiation Principles … continued… water.

Gamma rays (g) are a different matter.

  • Pure energy, similar to x-rays

  • Can be blocked by concrete, lead or steel

  • If exposed, medical attention is recommended.


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Remember 3 Factors water.to Minimize Exposure

  • Time

  • Distance

  • Shielding



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Measurement water.

The term used to measure radiation doses is “rem.”

It measures the effect of radiation on living tissue, also known as a “biologically effective dose.”

Typically, exposure is expressed in “millirems” (mrem) which is one-thousandth of a rem.


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Typical Radiation Doses water.

Flight from Los Angeles to London . . . . 5 mrem

Annual public dose limit . . . . . . . . . . .100 mrem

Annual natural background . . . . . . 300 mrem

Fetal dose limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 mrem

Annual radiation worker dose limit . 5000 mrem

Emergency:The MDH accepts an emergency exposure for lifesaving only of 25 to 100 rem.

Note: Workplace exposures required to be “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” (ALARA)


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Radiation Risk Perspective water.

Background Exposure

360 mrem

Known Exposure Risks

Risks

“Annual Occupational Exposure Limit” 5 Rem

0

0.3

5

10

Exposure (in Rem)


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Factors that Influence Health Effects water.of Radiation

  • General health of the individual

  • Amount (The “threshold dose” means that the effect is not seen until the absorbed dose is greater than a certain level.)

  • Frequency (acute or somatic)

  • Strength of isotope

  • Targeted cells or organs receiving the dose


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Biological Effects of water.Acute Whole Body Radiation Exposure

Risks increase with exposure

Death

Acute Radiation Sickness

Hair loss in 3-4 weeks. Death likely for 50% of exposed and untreated

Risks

Mild radiation sickness: nausea, fatigue, weak

Chromosome errors, burns, not visibly ill

0

0.3

50- 150

150- 400

400- 600

600- 1500

5000 +

Exposure (in Rems)



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Uses of radioactive material water.

Medical applications include:

  • Nuclear medicine equipment

  • Isotopic generators

  • Therapy units and seed implants

  • Radiopharmaceuticals

  • Computed Tomography (CT) imaging

Source: FDA, Center for Devices and Radiological Health

http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/fullbody-ctscan/fullbody-ctscan.htm

Accessed 12/21/2004


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Uses of radioactive material water.

Business applications include:

  • Luminous dials

  • Moisture and density gauges

  • Thickness gauges

  • Rifle sights

  • Static eliminators

Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2004/04-004i.html

Accessed 12/21/2004


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Uses of radioactive material water.

Public health applications include:

  • Food irradiation

  • Radiography

  • Well logging

  • Chemical agent detectors

  • XRFs for lead paint analysis

  • Smoke detectors

http://www.foodprocessing-technology.com/projects/sure/accessed 12/21/2004

Source: FDA, Center for Devices and Radiological Health http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/fullbody-ctscan/what.htm

accessed 12/21/2004


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Potential Radiological Incident? water.

Accidental (Controlled by regulatory systems)

  • The transportation sector (vehicle, rail, ship) carries many materials across the US. Despite fears of an attack, the most likely radiological incident remains a transportation accident involving radioactive materials.

  • Nuclear power plants build strong structures and exercise

    Intentional (Controlled by legal systems)

  • Stolen materials

  • Dirty bombs


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D water.amage to a nuclear power plant is difficult to imagine

US plants: 3 barriers between radioactive materials and the environment. The reactor will not explode.

Structures that house reactor fuel are robust. Fuel is protected from impacts of large commercial aircraft.


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D water.amage to a nuclear power plant is difficult to imagine…continued…

Professionals discuss, plan, and perform “exercises” often to rehearse skills and test possible scenarios:

  • At worst, could be a release of radioactive materials into the air, creating a “plume.”

  • May need to evacuate a surrounding area.

  • Precautionary medical measures may be necessary for those caught in the plume or its expected path down-wind.


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Bombs with radioactive material (“Dirty Bombs” or “RDDs”)

Definition: a conventional bomb surrounded by or filled with non-nuclear radiological materials. (also called a radiological dispersal device, or RDD)

Unlikely, and most probable, form of radiological terrorism

Radioactivity would not kill or seriously injure people (but an explosion might).

Would create fear or chaos: coined a “Weapon of Mass Disruption.”

Expect significant long-term psychological effects.


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Bombs with radioactive material …Continued… “RDDs”)

An RDD could be

  • any size,

  • spread radiation, and

  • contaminate an area.

    This photo was staged, but several alleged real-life RDD plots have been upset.

Photo: www.seattle.gov/mayor/gallery_2003/gallery_TOPOFF2_03.htm

Erik Stuhaug, photographer, accessed 11/10/2004



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Responding to an Incident “RDDs”)

Remember, a “dirty bomb” will probably not cause radiation sickness or death.

  • Be alert for secondary attacks, like explosive devices.


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Responding to an Incident…continued… “RDDs”)

  • Don’t make a victim of yourself.

    • No eating.

    • No smoking.

    • Wear protective clothing – including double gloves (if available).

  • Do not move items at the scene. They are evidence.


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Responding to an Incident…continued… “RDDs”)

  • Work within an Incident Management System. (Take the free online IMS course: www.sph.umn.edu/umncphp/Incident_Management_Systems.html )

  • Incident Commander makes sure the Minnesota Duty Officer has been called and knows the situation and needs:

    Metro Area ………..(651) 649-5451

    Toll Free (MN)..…1 (800) 422-0798


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Responding to an Incident “RDDs”) … Options to protect the public

1) Save lives

2) Control access

3) Monitor radiation

4) Decontaminate

5) IC communicates action to the public

…Evacuate.. or.. Shelter in place

6) Place controls on food and water

7) Relocate…Populations may mass in your jurisdiction for a long time


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Public Safety response “RDDs”)

  • 1st responders save lives.

    Rescue known living victims.

  • 1st responders control access

    • Measure contamination levels in and near danger zones. Set up barriers.

    • Only professional responders enter danger zones. Measure exposures.


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Public Safety response …continued… “RDDs”)

3) Continue to monitor radiation levels

  • Responders monitor both cumulative dose and dose rate when in a contaminated area.

  • Responders consult with state and federal technical experts when setting and adjusting boundaries.

Photo: www.seattle.gov/mayor/gallery_2003/gallery_TOPOFF2_03.htm

Erik Stuhaug, photographer, accessed 11/10/2004


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Public Safety response …continued… “RDDs”)

4) Decontaminate:

  • 1st Responders establish a field decontamination zone in a safe area.

  • If possible, decontaminate victims and emergency responders before transporting to a hospital.

Source: MDH, An Exercise, Courtesy of D Grundmanis


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Evacuate “RDDs”)..or..

Immediate/urgent removal of people from a contaminated area. Mass shelter and care will be required.

Shelter in place

Stay indoors, close/ seal doors and windows. Turn off/ cover fans and air conditioners. Individuals must care for themselves.

Public safety and public health staff can plan cooperatively.

Check your local plans for your role(s).

e.g., Communication Plan:Form a JPIC. Present regular PIO briefings and press releases. Media informs the public. Hotline message instructs area residents to:


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Public health staff can assist and guide protective actions “RDDs”)

  • Food and drinking water may be sampled, assessed, and controlled.

  • Relocation… Populations may mass in your jurisdiction for a long time, requiring

    • safe shelter,

    • sanitary conditions,

    • medical care, and

    • systems or community behavior change.

      Public health staff will likely play a large role in recovery efforts.



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Role of the MDH for Accident Assessment “RDDs”)

• Assist with development of guidanceto local public officials for:

- emergency workers,

- remediation personnel, and

- the public

• Coordinate sampling activities, including air samples


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Role of the MDH for Accident Assessment “RDDs”)

• Analyze samples at the MDH Public Health Laboratory

• Review results of sample analysis and make recommendations for protective actions, additional sampling, control, and mitigation as appropriate.


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Role of the MDH for Accident Assessment “RDDs”)

• Develop and maintain a preparedness and response plan for public health aspects of disasters and emergencies


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Using the Monitoring Equipment “RDDs”)

Unlike many biological or chemical agents, the presence and amount of radiation can be detected immediately.

Photo: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center , 10/16/2003 http://www.fhcrc.org/pubs/center_news/2003/oct16/Radiation.jpg Accessed 1/3/2005


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Using the Monitoring Equipment …continued… “RDDs”)

Stop. Look. Listen.

Anytime an incident is reported that could be remotely perceived as terrorism, the first responder should take a Geiger counter.

Approach the site cautiously with the survey meter on the lowest scale.

(There normally are some slow clicks measuring background radiation. But if it clicks faster, there is more radiation.)


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Using the Monitoring Equipment …continued… “RDDs”)

There are two primary uses for a Geiger counter:

1) To identify radiation levels

2) To identify contamination on personnel, equipment, and property


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Using the Monitoring Equipment …continued… “RDDs”)

  • Make sure equipment is calibrated, maintained, and available.

  • Know how to use the equipment.

    • Write down the measurements from the Geiger counter.

  • Call the state or federal radiation specialist.

    • Report your findings and follow directions regarding appropriate action.


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Operations Assistance “RDDs”)

  • Record the measurements on the monitor (Geiger counter).

  • Call the state or federal radiation specialist.

  • Report your findings and follow the directions of the radiation specialist regarding appropriate action.


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Key Points “RDDs”)

  • Radiation is a part of daily life.

  • With proper equipment, radiation can be detected immediately.

  • To reduce the potential exposure: decrease exposure time, increase distance, and increase shielding. If exposed, showering and carefully removing clothing can reduce contamination

  • Community actions in an event may include: Evacuation, Shelter in Place, and Relocation.


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For more information “RDDs”)

For more information:

CDC http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/

EPAhttp://www.epa.gov/radiation/students/types.html

MDH Environmental Health (651) 215-0700

Emergencies Only-- call MN Duty Officer:

Metro Area …….…(651) 649-5451

or Toll-free in MN……1 (800) 422-0798


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Post-Test “RDDs”)

Please go to the separate file entitled, “radtest.pdf” to print the post-test.


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Acknowledgement “RDDs”)

This slide acknowledges that _____________________

has seen the web-based presentation, “Radiological Issues”

and has increased awareness and understanding of key concepts and terminology.


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