In vivo EPR dosimetry to quantify exposures to clinically significant doses of ionising radiation
As a result of terrorism, accident or war, populations potentially can be exposed to doses of ionising radiation that could cause direct clinical effects within days or weeks. There is a critical need to determine the magnitude of the exposure to individuals so that those with significant risk can have appropriate procedures initiated immediately, while those without a significant probability of acute effects can be reassured and removed from the need for further consideration in the medical/emergency system. It is extremely unlikely that adequate dosemeters will be worn by the potential victims, and it also will be unlikely that prompt and accurate dose reconstruction at the level of individuals will be possible. Therefore, there is a critical need for a method to measure the dose from radiation-induced effects that occur within the individual. In vivo EPR measurements of radiation-induced changes in the enamel of teeth is a method, perhaps the only such method, which can differentiate among doses sufficiently to classify individuals into categories for treatment with sufficient accuracy to facilitate decisions on medical treatment. In its current state, the in vivo EPR dosemeter can provide estimates of absorbed dose of +/- 0.5 Gy in the range from 1 to >10 Gy. The lower limit and the precision are expected to improve, with improvements in the resonator and the algorithm for acquiring and calculating the dose. In its current state of development, the method is already sufficient for decision-making action for individuals with regard to acute effects from exposure to ionising radiation for most applications related to terrorism, accidents or nuclear warfare.