Rajender Prasad, who was exposed to Cobalt 60 at a scrap dealer shop in Mayapuri in west Delhi and admitted to AIIMS on April 8, died around 9.30 pm on Monday after multiple organ failure.
According to doctors, another radiation victim Ram Kalap is critical and his blood counts have reduced significantly. He has been put on prophylactic antibiotic and anti-fungal agentsIt is shocking to read such news and even more shocking to note that we may never know what has been scrapped so far. The exposed person can also contract cancer and I wonder if this one reason why the incidence of cancer is increasing over the years.
Main uses for Cobalt 60:While US has Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) which regulates the use of Cobalt-60 and other such hazardous elements, I searched for similar such agencies in India and couldn’t find any.
• As a tracer for cobalt in chemical reactions,
• Sterilization of medical equipment,
• Radiation source for medical radiotherapy,
• Radiation source for industrial radiography,
• Radioactive source for leveling devices and thickness gauges,
• As a radioactive source for food irradiation and blood irradiation, and
• As a radioactive source for laboratory use.
Or is one happy regulating only nuclear plants?
What can I do to protect myself and my family from cobalt-60?
You are unlikely to encounter cobalt-60 unless you undergo certain medical treatments. Thorough discussions with your doctor about the amount of exposure and potential alternatives allow you to make informed decisions about the relative risks.
Although it is very unlikely, you may accidentally encounter a sealed radiation source containing cobalt-60 that has escaped proper control ("orphaned sources").
Is the “very unlikely” situation common in India?
If so, do we have anyone to at least (!) blame?
Atomic Energy Commission