Freequently asked questions

What are biodosimetric tools?

Biodosimetric tools are used to assess radiation doses by observing changes in biological material or personal belongings carried by individuals that can be considered as specific indicators of radiation dose. The dose-effect relationships for those indicators are known or possible to establish.

Why is it necessary to increase the capacity of biodosimetry by adapting the existing biodosimetric tools, and by developing new ones?

Biodosimetry tools had traditionally been established to handle samples from few persons potentially overexposed to radiation. Majority of radiation accidents that occurred in industry, medicine or with displaced sources, involved few individuals. Moreover, in many cases, the involved persons had been under personal dose monitoring programs, and it was often possible to map the exposure situation to a substantial extent. The majority of biodosimetry laboratories are small, employing few experts. The methods used, however, in many cases require extensive expertise, and usually it takes time to perform the analysis for single individual, and only a limited number of samples can be processed simultaneously.

In the last decade, the new threat of using radiation sources in malevolent acts was introduced, making it necessary to take into consideration scenarios with many casualties and very little information about potential exposure characteristics. In such situations, using fast biodosimetric methods is the only option for obtaining a rough estimation of the dose to many people at the same time and identifying those individuals in a large group of people who will need to be followed up in the health service.

Why can the availability of a spectrum of different fast methods be advantageous?

There are several reasons for that, among others: 1. The information about the type of radiation exposure can be scarce. Not all developed tools perform equally well for every type of exposure. 2. Depending on the scenario, availability of a particular dosimetric service, and location of the accident, it may be advantageous to have a choice of which method to use. 3. The different biodosimetric tools can be used complimentary in dose assessment.