Today Reuters has an update on the growing problem of patients tripping radiation sensors. As the number of radiation therapies and diagnostic procedures grows, and sensors become smaller and more commonly employed, more people are finding themselves subject to investigation.
Nearly 60,000 people a day in the United States undergo treatment or tests that leave tiny amounts of radioactive material in their bodies, according to the Society of Nuclear Medicine. It is not enough to hurt them or anyone else, but it is enough to trigger radiation alarms for up to three months.
Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has distributed more than 12,000 hand-held radiation detectors, mainly to Customs and Border Protection agents at airports, seaports and border crossings.
It’s not just while traveling — more events are subject to radiation screens:
Sensors are also used at government buildings and at large public events like the Super Bowl that are considered potential terrorist targets.
At the annual Christmas tree-lighting party in New York City’s Rockefeller Center in November, police pulled six people aside in the crowd and asked them why they had tripped sensors.
“All six had recently had medical treatments with radioisotopes in their bodies,” Richard Falkenrath, the city’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, told a Republican governors’ meeting in Miami recently. “That happens all the time.”
What’s not being reported, and what remains unknown to us, is what do investigators do when the “patient” has no doctor’s note and seems too young to need these tests / therapies.
Flashback: First reports of patients tripping radiation security devices (Lancet, JAMA), Wristwatch Radiation Detector, Nukalert Keychain Apocalypse Detector
More (discouraging news) from the Amateur Radiation Detection and Experiments Page …