Chronic Lead Exposure in Nuclear Medicine

Samantha Stevenson, Geoffrey Currie, Janelle Wheat

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Introduction: Lead has been used as a means of radiation shielding in the Nuclear Medicine since the profession emerged (Christian et al, 2007; Thrall, O'Malley, & Ziessman, 2006). Today, lead is used in products ranging from collimators and structural walls to that of simple lead syringe shields and carry pots (Christian et al, 2007; Holden, 2008). While the less malleable properties of tungsten has seen it replace the use of lead in many products, the lower cost of lead has ensured widespread use remains. Despite a long history of widespread use of lead, there is a paucity of information relating to health implications of such generalised exposure in Nuclear Medicine. The detrimental health effects of lead have been well documented (Herman & Geraldine, 2007; Khan, 2009; Landrigan et al, 1994). Both chronic and acute forms of lead exposure affect numerous organ systems, producing long term irreversible conditions such as cognitive deterioration, renal failure and sterility (Herman & Geraldine, 2007; Khan, 2009; Marcus, 2007). Although workplace exposure within areas of lead production such as smelting and battery production are well documented, knowledge of the degree of exposure to allied health workers is poor (Cunningham, 2007; Roscoe et al, Dec 2002; Saito et al, 2006). The chronic exposure rate to lead of Nuclear Medicine workers is unknown (Bellinger, 2004; Khan, 2009; Parsons & Chisolm, 1999).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalInternet Journal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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