Radioactive contamination can occur as a result of accidental or intentional release of radioactive materials (RM) into the environment. RM may deposit on clothing, skin, or hair. Decontamination of contaminated persons should be done as soon as possible to minimize the deleterious health effects of radiation. The goal of this study was to evaluate the decontamination efficiency (for residual contaminant) of the active components of “Shudhika,” an indigenously developed skin decontamination kit. The study kit is for external radioactive decontamination of intact skin.
Decontamination efficiency was evaluated on the skin surface of rabbit (n = 6) and human volunteers (n = 13). 99mTc sodium pertechnetate (200-250 μCi) was used as the radio-contaminant. Skin surface area (5 × 5 cm2) of thoracic abdominal region of the rabbit and the forearm and the palm of human volunteers were used for the study. Decontamination was performed by using cotton swabs soaked with chemical decontamination agents of the kit.
Decontamination efficiency (% of the contaminant removed) was calculated for each component of the study. Overall effectiveness of the kit was calculated to be 85% ± 5% in animal and 92% ± 3% in human skin surfaces. Running water and liquid soap with water was able to decontaminate volunteers' hand and animal skin up to 70% ± 5%. Chemical decontamination agents were applied only for trace residues (30% ± 5%). Efficiency of all the kit components was found up to be 20% ± 3% (animal) and 28% ± 2 (human), respectively. Residual contamination after final decontamination attempt for both the models was observed to be 12% ± 3% and 5% ± 2%. After 24 and 48 hours of the decontamination procedure, skin was found to be normal (no redness, erythema and edema were observed).
Decontaminants of the study kit were effective in removal of localized radioactive skin contamination when water is ineffective for further decontamination. By using the chemical decontaminants of the study kit, the use of water and radioactive waste generation could be reduced. Cross-contamination could also be avoided. During radiologic emergencies where water may be radioactively contaminated, the study kit could be used.
Rana S, Dutta M, Soni NL, Chopra MK, Kumar V, Goel R, Bhatnagar A, Sultana S, Sharma RK. Decontamination of human and rabbit skin experimentally contaminated with 99mTc radionuclide using the active components of “Shudika”—a skin decontamination kit. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(2):1-5.