Alarms Go Off in Restrooms When Radiated Thyroid Patients Urinate.
Posted Jun 24 2009 2:05pm
A 30 Y/O female with Graves' hyperthyroidism was treated with 15 Millicuries of radioiodine. The next day she entered the restroom at her workplace, and an alarm of a flame sensor sounded. This happened everyday for 6 days, whenever she went to the restroom to urinate,the sensor went off and stopped when the toilet was flushed, and the radiation in the toilet was washed away. The sensor was 10 feet away from the toilet in the ceiling. The flame sensors are usually installed in restrooms in department stores, airports, shopping centers and movie theaters. Another Graves' patient activated the flame sensor in a department store restroom 2 days after treatment with 30 Millicuries of I/131. A flame sensor was studied. A patient was with Graves' set off the alarm 3 days after treatment when she passed urine. Also the flame sensor could sense I/131 gamma rays, even when a I/131 capsule was covered by a UV light interception seal. Airport radiation detectors are known to go off when a patient is treated with RAI/131. The fact that alarms can go off in restrooms all over the world when a thyroid patient urinates gamma rays into the toilet water has not been reported before. Any physician using Radioiodine to treat thyroid patients should inform them about this malfunction of restroom sensors after they are treated.
Wow, one more thing to tell my patients after radioiodine therapy. The best thing to do is flush the toilet, and the alarm will stop! Don't panic and run out without flushing.
Tajiri et al Radioiodine and Flame sensors
P2-190 abstract Endocrine Society Annual meeting San Francisco Ca 6-15-2008. abstract