NRC seeks to limit youth contact with thyroid cancer patients

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A scan of a thyroid, 24 hours after radioactive iodine intake. Source: Survival Unlimited  

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued new guidance to medical licensees to strengthen existing precautions against the possibility that infants and young children who come in contact with thyroid cancer patients may receive unnecessary doses of radiation.

The guidance recommends that patients given therapeutic doses of radioactive iodine-131 should avoid direct or indirect contact with infants and young children for a specific period of time following the therapy. The NRC exemplified this contact as “through shared living spaces.”

The guidance also recommends that physicians should consider hospitalizing patients whose living conditions may result in the contamination of infants and young children.

The new guidance is explained in a Regulatory Issue Summary for NRC medical licensees and for medical licensees in the 35 agreement states that regulate the use of radioactive materials.