We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Dangers of Nuclear Medicine Radiation?

By Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
TheHealthBoard is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At TheHealthBoard, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Nuclear medicine radiation is used during the nuclear imaging process to help medical professionals spot biological conditions. Technicians inject small amounts of radiation into the bloodstream and use special cameras to find abnormalities. In most circumstances, the use of radiation in this manner poses little risk, however, there are cumulative effects due to repeat exposures. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding also risk complications with unborn children or health issues with children feeding on breast milk. Other dangers posed include allergies, occupational hazards, waste disposal and potential targets of opportunity for terrorists.

Dosages used during the imaging procedure are small, and as of 2011 research has yet to observe any long-term effects. Patients who are subjected to repeated procedures, however, are at a higher risk of developing cancer and other health problems associated with repeated exposure to nuclear medicine radiation. This happens because the radiation accumulates in the body and builds up over time. Expectant mothers and those who are breast feeding run the risk of complications with their pregnancy or of passing the radiation on to their children through milk. Due to such risks, medical professionals often do not use imaging procedures that rely on radiation for expectant mothers and those breast feed their babies.

Allergic reactions are not commonly associated with nuclear medicine radiation, but they do occur. Often the allergy is mild and only poses minimal discomfort, though in some cases the patient's body may react vigorously when subjected to radiation. Previous reactions, whether mild or severe, need to be reported to medical professionals before undergoing any type of imaging procedures that use radiation.

Occupational hazards related to nuclear medicine radiation on the other hand, pose more significant risks due to repeated exposure. Exam administrators have an increased risk of developing cataracts or cancer, or of experiencing complications with pregnancy. Technologists, however, can mitigate those risk by following proper safety procedures and wearing the right safety equipment.

Storage of nuclear waste materials likely poses the most pressing dangers from nuclear medicine radiation. There are two main risks associated with the storage of radioactive wastes: security and lack of permanent repositories. As of 2011, the United States lacks permanent facilities to store nuclear waste and thus stores the material in temporary locations where people are not exposed to it. Such facilities, along with medical facilities that use nuclear medicine, potentially serve as targets for terrorists seeking nuclear materials or to use the facility itself as a bomb site to spread nuclear radiation. Facilities can prevent such scenarios by following proper security procedures and adequately tracking stored radioactive waste materials.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

TheHealthBoard, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.