Radiation Patients Endanger Public, Congressman Says

HealthLeadersMedia.com | October 21 – The public is being unwittingly exposed to potentially dangerous levels of radiation from patients released from the hospital after undergoing therapy with radioactive isotopes, according to Rep. Edward J. Markey, (D-MA).

In a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he said this has occurred “because of weak NRC regulations, ineffective oversight of those who administer these medical treatments, and the absence of clear guidance to patients and to physicians that provide procedures to ensure that such exposures do not occur.”

The rules were weakened in 1997, when standards required hospitalization of patients emitting high levels of radiation in order to protect children and other members of the public.  Today, those radiation treatments are permitted on a less expensive outpatient basis, he wrote.

Many patients responded to a federal survey that they were never told that their treatment could expose vulnerable patients to potentially harmful radiation.

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