Potential for Radioactive Patient Excreta in Hospital Trash and Medical Waste

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Radioactive excreta from nuclear medicine patients can enter solid waste as common trash and medical biohazardous waste. Many landfills and transfer stations now survey these waste streams with scintillation detectors which may result in rejection of a hospital's waste. Our survey indicated that on the average either or both of Boston University Medical Center Hospital's waste streams can contain detectable radioactive excreta on a weekly basis. To avoid potential problems, radiation detectors were installed in areas where housekeepers carting trash and medical waste must pass through to ensure no radioactivity leaves the institution.

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