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Monday, September 25, 2023

Health Min Prepares Staff and Facilities for Missing Cesium-137 Cylinder

The Ministry of Health has directed its Directorate of Public Health Emergency Management to prepare specialists and facilities in reaction to the disappearance of a rod of radioactive cesium-137 in Prachinburi. Extended exposure to the isotope may result in leukemia.

Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry, discussed the cesium-137 isotope cylinder that went missing from a power facility in Prachinburi’s Si Mahapho area. Concerns have been raised that those who are not aware of the occurrence may be exposed to the isotope and experience health consequences.

According to Dr. Opas, the missing cylinder has a diameter of 5 inches and is covered by a layer of lead. The cylinder is encased with metal. If the cylinder remains in this form, it will have no effect on people’s health or the environment.

Dr. Opas stated that there is no evidence that the cesium-137 inside the cylinder escaped its shielding. At this time, no effects on people’s safety or the environment are foreseen. The Directorate of Public Health Emergency Management has been directed to make preparations by compiling a list of radiation specialists who may be called upon. The division will also work with Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital and Ramathibodi Hospital to manage the transfer of prospective patients afflicted by the radioactive chemical. Prachinburi Public Health Office has been directed to notify individuals in high-risk regions of potential risks and to prepare local health institutions for probable patients.

Dr. Opas emphasized that short-term exposure to cesium-137 may not have any discernible health effects. Nevertheless, chronic exposure to greater levels will result in rashes, hair loss, and ulcers. Long-term exposure may cause fascia formation in the lungs, leukemia, or ocular cataracts. Depending on the degree of exposure, water contamination may result in aquatic animal mutation.

Author: kanyapat

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