In the field of ionizing radiations, are the dosimetric data satisfactory?
Sugier, A; Hubert, P
Revue d'Epidemiologie et de Sante Publique, Jan 2002 , 50: (1) 13-26, in French
The quantification of the dose is a key element for the surveillance of radiological exposures of the population. The objectives are the reduction as low as reasonably achievable of exposures, the assessment of the risk in complement to epidemiologic surveys and refining the dose/effect relationship. However, two difficulties should be highlighted: first, the dose delivered into organs or to the whole organism is not directly measurable and second, its translation into risk (cancer hazard, for instance) requires precautions. The questions associated with the development of a good dosimetry depend on metrology, modeling, investigations, management of databases, and give rise to debates with regard to the notion of realism and confidentiality of individual data. This activity experiences deep changes due, not only to the development of techniques and the increasing social demand, but also to changes to the regulations, in particular with the transposition of the European Directive for the protection of the patients (97143, June 30, 1997) and of the Directive relating to the basic safety standards (96129, May 13, 1996). Various types of situations are distinguished: professional exposure, public exposure (releases of facilities handling radioactive materials, natural sources, contaminated sites, nuclear test fallouts) and patients' exposure (radiology and radiotherapy). Recent investigations at European or domestic level are mentioned, the purpose of which is to evidence the benefits and lacks, if any, in the dosimetric monitoring for these various types of situations. As a conclusion, orientations are defined and some of them are already applied, following the above-mentioned investigations or works. As the two main sources of exposure for the population are medical (41%) and natural irradiations (58%), the effort of the reduction should first cover these two components. With regard to natural radioactivity, the main stake is to identify the sectors with a high radon potential and to implement the associated reduction means. With regard to patients' exposure, the emphasis should concern the development in radiodiagnostic, of the means required for systematically recording a dose indicator for every radiodiagnostic examination and any, radiological operation. Finally, the exposure of workers, which only represents a component of the overall population exposure, should be subject to an on-going attention with regard to data centralization and accessibility.