United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Health Physics Questions and Answers - Question 42

Question 42: A nuclear medicine technologist becomes contaminated with I-131 which results in an internal uptake of iodine. She continues to breast-feed her baby. Is the licensee responsible for controlling the dose to the baby as a member of the public in an unrestricted area? If so, what are the dose limits?

Answer: The licensee is responsible for the licensed material that has internally contaminated the technologist. The limit for a member of the public applies to the baby.

(References: 10 CFR 20.1201 and 20.1301)

The licensee is responsible for performing a "survey" to assess the magnitude of the dose to the baby [10 CFR 20.1501 (a)].

With respect to the continued breast-feeding of the baby, there are important legal, moral, and ethical considerations (including the rights of the technologist) that are outside the limited scope of 10 CFR Part 20. Both NRC and the licensee would have to address these considerations if such a situation were actually to arise.

(References: 10 CFR 20.1201 and 20.1301)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, October 09, 2015