Security threatens medicine

27 September 2004

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has voiced concerns that the global tightening in nuclear material transport security is hampering the treatment of hospital patients with potentially lifesaving isotopes. These are used in nuclear medicine for diagnosis and therapy, treating cancer, diagnosing heart attacks or sterilising medical equipment.

A recent IAEA export meeting noted “a growing incidence of denials or delays in international shipments of needed radioactive material, including short-lived isotopes.” Michael Wangler, IAEA radioactive materials transport safety chief, said: “This increases the prospect of someone missing a cancer treatment.”

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