Target Organ Selection Issues for Dose Reconstruction Under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act

B.A. Ulsh; R.W. Henshaw; T.D. Taulbee; and D.E. Allen (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been charged with the responsibility of reconstructing doses received by U.S. nuclear weapons workers who have developed cancer and filed claims for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA). One of the first tasks facing the dose reconstructor is selection of the appropriate target for calculation of organ doses. This selection is determined largely by the cancer diagnosis and is fairly straightforward for solid tumors, with a few notable exceptions. These exceptions include issues related to the use of surrogate organs for calculation of organ doses from external sources, for example the use of the urinary bladder for the prostate gland and the use of the stomach for the liver, gall bladder, and spleen. Target organ selection is not so straightforward for some cancers involving the hematopoietic and lymphatic systems, such as lymphoma. For these cancers, NIOSH is investigating the relationship between the site of cancer occurrence and the site of the original radiation injury. Once the target organ has been selected, NIOSH uses current ICRP methodologies for converting whole-body external doses to the appropriate organ dose, and for modeling organ doses resulting from uptakes of internally deposited radionuclides. The calculation of the probability that a claimant's cancer was caused by occupational exposure to radiation is based on the relevant organ dose and type of cancer, and this calculation informs the compensation decision made by the Department of Labor.

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