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A radioactive body contaminates the crematorium of Arizona



(Newser)

Radiation was detected everywhere in a crematorium in Arizona following the incineration of a man who had just received cancer treatment. Although the medical community has long been aware of the potential risks of cremation of patients treated with "radiopharmaceuticals", contamination of an entire facility has never been seen before, reports BuzzFeed News. The body, described in a case report, was that of a 69-year-old man who had been injected with radioactive compounds into the veins shortly before dying. The crematorium was not aware of the treatment when they burned his body. The quantities detected were below the limit considered dangerous by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The researchers found that the radioactive isotope treated by the patient had been processed in the bone grinder, oven and vacuum filter, by CNN. More worryingly, they found another radioactive material in the urine of a crematorium worker, suggesting that the problem of contamination could be more prevalent. However, the detection of materials is a complicated procedure: you can not just pass a Geiger counter on the body, as it should. At present, there is no federal rule regarding bare organs, which has resulted in a mosaic of moving laws, which vary from state to state. Fortunately, the problem seems to be limited to crematoriums and so remains what the Verge calls a "unique occupational risk". According to CNN, new guidelines will be coming soon, crematoriums can act by ensuring that workers wear protective clothing and handle all items with care. (Read more radioactive stories.)

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