Go Back

Biological Dosimetry

Worldwide there is a strong increment in the application of nuclear technologies, especially in the fields of electrical power/energy management, in the field of research, and in human health. In spite of strict regulations and safety measures, radiation/nuclear accidents or unplanned radiation exposures may occur. In the event of a radiation/nuclear emergency, biological dosimetry is essential for timely determination of the radiation dose to the exposed individuals (i.e. exposed workers and general public).

Biological dosimetry implies different cytogentic assays (including dicentric-, micronuclei-, premature chromosome condensation-assay, and fluorescent in situ hybridization) to define the frequency of chromosomal alterations, and is used to estimate the absorbed dose in the exposed individual. Cytogenetic dosimetry is recognized as a valuable dose assessment method which fills a gap in dosimetric technology, particularly when there are difficulties in interpreting the data, in cases where there is reason to believe that persons not wearing dosimeters have been exposed to radiation, in cases of claims for compensation for radiation injuries that are not supported by unequivocal dosimetric evidence, or in cases of exposure over an individual’s working lifetime.

Biological dosimetry can be applied irrespective of the scale of the emergency/accident. In case of small-scale accidents involving one or a few individuals only a few samples need to be examined, and in case of large accidents affecting large populations many individuals need to be screened. Information obtained with this technique may help to perform triage in radiation/nuclear mass casualty events.