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Monte Carlo Assessments of Absorbed Doses to the Hands of Radiopharmaceutical Workers Due to Photon Emitters

Dan Ilas, Keith Eckerman, Sami Sherbini, Harriet Karagiannis

Nuclear Technology / Volume 168 / Number 1 / October 2009 / Pages 164-168

Dose/Dose Rate / Special Issue on the 11th International Conference on Radiation Shielding and the 15th Topical Meeting of the Radiation Protection and Shielding Division (Part 1) / Radiation Protection

This paper describes the characterization of radiation doses to the hands of nuclear medicine technicians resulting from the handling of radiopharmaceuticals. Radiation monitoring using ring dosimeters indicates that finger dosimeters that are used to show compliance with applicable regulations may overestimate or underestimate radiation doses to the skin depending on the nature of the particular procedure and the radionuclide being handled. To better understand the parameters governing the absorbed dose distributions, a detailed model of the hands was created and used in Monte Carlo simulations of selected nuclear medicine procedures. Simulations of realistic configurations typical for workers handling radiopharmaceuticals were performed for a range of energies of the source photons. The lack of charged-particle equilibrium necessitated full photon-electron coupled transport calculations. The results show that the dose to different regions of the fingers can differ substantially from dosimeter readings when dosimeters are located at the base of the finger. We tried to identify consistent patterns that relate the actual dose to the dosimeter readings. These patterns depend on the specific work conditions and can be used to better assess the absorbed dose to different regions of the exposed skin.

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