North Central Chapter Health Physics Society, Fall Meeting, October 28, 2005


Written by Nancy Farrington, Executive Council Member


The North Central Chapter of the Health Physics Society Fall Meeting was held October 28, 2005, at the Snelling Office Park, St. Paul, MN.  The staff of the Minnesota Department of Health, Radiation Control, hosted the meeting.


The meeting was supported in part by affiliate members, including Canberra, Global Dosimetry and Image Technology, Inc.  The meeting was well attended with forty-three members present.


Jeff Brunette, President elect, gave opening remarks.  Jeff welcomed everyone in attendance with special thanks to the affiliate members.


George Johns, Jr., Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Health, Radiation Control Unit, presented the Minnesota Department of Health Initiatives.  Mr. Johns introduced his staff.  He then spoke of the changing approach of the FDA concerning x-ray machines.  The FDA is becoming more risk based/performance based concerning radiation machines.  He stated that there would be changes in the x-ray rules for Minnesota.  He then spoke to the State of Minnesota becoming an Agreement State.  He stated that the NRC Commission is voting on Agreement State Status for Minnesota now.  Hopefully Minnesota will become an Agreement State by mid-March 2006.


Evan Douple, PhD, of The National Academics, presented Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, BEIR VII—Phase II.  Phase II of the BEIR VII research and report was conducted between 1999 and 2005.  It develops the most up-to-date and comprehensive risk estimates for cancer and other health effects from exposure to low-level ionizing radiation.  In general, the BEIR VII supports previously reported risk estimates for cancer and leukemia.  The data supports a “linear-no-threshold” (LNT) risk model.  Dr. Douple suggested that we check out the web site at:    search word BEIR Report, to view a brief of the report.  On page 3 of this brief, figure 2 utilizes a graph that is very striking and easy to interpret that presents the diagnosis of cancer from related and unrelated radiation exposure.


Brian Dodd, Ph.D., President-elect, Health Physics Society, presented The IAEA and the Control of Radioactive Sources.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has 138 member states.  The IAEA works for the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.  Dr. Dodd spoke to us on Orphan Sources, Vulnerable Sources and Disused Sources concerning their control or lack there of.  He presented several scenarios that demonstrated the concern the IAEA has for safety because of lack or loss of control with the change of countries’ status.  Brian also reiterated the Societies commitment to Health Physics without Borders and encouraged out chapter to reach out to other countries and help them establish health physics programs.


Richard Vetter, Ph.D., RSO, Mayo Clinic presented Evolution of the Regulation of Radiation in Medicine.  Dr. Vetter posed the question “Why regulate?”  Regulations are put in place to protect.  The protection can be towards patients, employees or the general public.  Dr. Vetter stated that regulations have become more specific and less objective.


Ken Kerns, President, turned the gavel over to the incoming President Jeff Brunette during the Business Meeting.


Br. Jerome Rademacher, St. Mary’s University (SMU), presented Decommissioning a Small Academic License.  Brother Rademacher spoke about the process of decommissioning SMU.  Since the decommissioning, SMU will no longer need a Specific Radioactive Materials License.  SMU will be able to maintain radioactive program using exempt quantities.  Brother Rademacher stressed the necessity to perform both surveys and wipes, and diagramming and labeling the area and wipes.  During the decommissioning process, if diagramming and labeling are done prior to starting, the exact area will be known if readings are higher than anticipated.


Mike Lewandowski, 3M Corporate Health Physics presented The Use of Quality Tools and Techniques to Improve Radiation Safety Programs.  Mr. Lewandowski spoke about the use of the Basic Concepts of Quality Tools incorporated at 3M to improve the Radiation Safety Program.  He discussed setting up a quality improvement process and the issues related to getting buy-in from employees.  In the case of 3M, the use of quality tools was an initiative of upper level management so obtaining buy-in was not as difficult.  Mr. Lewandowski then discussed the various steps in the quality improvement process and showed examples of its use to improve Radiation Safety operations at 3M.


Jeff Brunette, Mayo Clinic presented Occupational Doses in Nuclear Cardiology and PET Cardiology

Mr. Brunette spoke specifically to Mayo Clinic concerning the addition of PET Nuclear Cardiology exams to the SPECT Nuclear Cardiology exams with employee concerns for increased occupational dose.  Following a study to determine if the employees’ concerns had any basis, it was determined that per patient, PET Cardiology exams have the potential for higher occupational doses.  Mr. Brunette concluded that for Mayo Clinic, the potential occupational dose from PET Cardiology exams are significantly less than from SPECT Cardiology exams because of their mix of patient examinations.