Dead man was cremated - then crematorium workers realised he was radioactive

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Crematoriums have been warned over the risk from cancer patients (Getty)

When workers cremated a 69-year-old cancer patient in America, they were unaware of one, crucial fact – his body was radioactive.

The man died in one hospital – but had been treated the previous day with radioactive compound to target his tumour.

When his remains were cremated, there was still a potentially dangerous dose of the radioactive isotope lutetium Lu 177 dotatate in his body.

A month after the cremation, workers used a Geiger counter to test the cremation chamber, oven, vacuum filter and bone crusher – and found elevated levels of radiation.

Study co author Kevin Nelson said, ‘This wasn’t like the second-coming of Chernobyl or Fukushima, but it was higher than you would anticipate,.’

Read More
Trump ‘bought painting of himself for $60k using his own charity cash, then kept it’
Medics performed emergency C-section on dying crash victim who wasn’t pregnant
Nine men jailed for nearly 133 years after ‘appalling catalogue’ of abuse of two girls

The chemical could potentially have put crematorium workers at risk of inhaling the radioactive isotope while cleaning.

The laws around how the remains of people who have been treated with a radioactive compound are complex, Science Alert reports.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic wrote, ‘Radiopharmaceuticals present a unique and often overlooked postmortem safety challenge.

‘Cremating an exposed patient volatilises the radiopharmaceutical, which can then be inhaled by workers (or released into the adjacent community) and result in greater exposure than from a living patient.’

—Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK—