Fall Meeting Summary

North Central Chapter of the Health Physics Society

October 29, 2004


Written and submitted by Cathy H. Knox, Councilor


Welcome and Introductory Remarks


The North Central Chapter of the Health Physics Society held its fall meeting on October 29, 2004 at Macalester College, St. Paul Minnesota.  Heather McCollor and Wayne Wolsey hosted the meeting at the Olin-Rice Science Center on the Macalester campus.  President – elect Ken Kerns welcomed members and recognized affiliates exhibiting at the meeting.  Sponsoring affiliates are Canberra Industries, Illinois Institute of Technology, Global Dosimetry and Landauer Inc.


Ask The Expert


Kelly Classic and Gen Roessler presented their work about “Ask the Experts”, a question and answer public information page of the HPS website.  HPS members from various areas of expertise also assist with this important public information resource.  All types of questions from the public are answered carefully and thoughtfully with references and additional information resources.  The largest number of questions has to do with pregnancy.


Industrial Laser Safety


Mike Lewandowski talk covered the safe use of lasers in industrial settings.  Equipment type, power settings and wavelength all determine proper labeling information, need for interlocks, work practice controls and appropriate optical density for safety glasses.  In addition, Mike discussed baseline eye exams and post-exposure exams as part of occupational health programs for laser users.  Mike spoke of the importance of keeping laser equipment inventory records and providing safety training for staff, especially those who do the alignments.


MRI Safety


Mary Ellen Jafari of Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center presented an interesting talk on MRI safety.  Her slide show emphasized the importance of staff training for anyone who works near medical imaging (MRI) or (NMR) magnets.  Patients can be injured or killed if large metal objects are brought into scan rooms and pulled into the magnet.  Ellen also discussed less obvious metallic hazards which can be present, such as metallic implants, staples in shoes, ferrous fasteners in non-metal or aluminum equipment, and even certain ferrous dyes used in tattoos.  Ellen spoke of burns that can occur through pulsed radio frequency fields which can generate heat in tissue and especially in electrically conducting materials such as wire cables and leads and metal objects in pockets.


“Town Hall Meeting”


Ruth McBurney, HPS President Elect held a “Town Hall” style meeting stressing the importance of new members and recruiting replacement health physicists for the future.  She recognized the “large shoes” she has to fill as HPS President and will work hard to meet future goals.  Members provided numerous ideas and suggestions to Ruth to help strengthen the bond between local HPS chapters and the national HPS.


Business Meeting Highlights


George Johns, Radiation Control Section, Minnesota Department of Health, provided an update on the NRC agreement state status of Minnesota.  George commented that a few items need to be edited and expects Minnesota to be granted agreement status by September of 2005.  He went on to say X-Ray regulations will be updated and will include training and experience requirements for X-Ray RSO’s.


Mike Lewandowski gave NCCHPS members a preview of the Science Teacher Workshop and efforts that were put forth by the workshop committee to create and deliver a four hour workshop on Saturday, October 30, 2004 at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers.


REAC/TS Role in Medical Management of Radiation Accidents


The Wissink Memorial Lecturer, Dr. Al Wiley spoke about the role of REAC/TS in the medical management during radiation accidents or nuclear terrorism”.  REAC/TS, based out of Oak Ridge, trains, consults, or assists in the response to all types of radiation accidents or incidents.  The Center's specially trained team of physicians, nurses, health physicists, radiobiologists, and emergency coordinators are prepared around-the-clock to provide assistance on either the local, national, or international level.  Dr. Wiley also discussed blockers, chelating, and up-regulator treatments to modulate effects of radiation after exposure.


Issues Facing A Small Campus RSO


Heather McCollor, RSO for Macalester College, spoke on the needs and regulatory challenges of running a small college – radiation safety program.  Heather felt cooperative efforts with larger organizations can help reduce the resource strain of training, calibration of equipment, teaching courses, shipping and waste management.