§ 82.2 - What are the basics of dose reconstruction?
The basic principle of dose reconstruction is to characterize the radiation environments to which workers were exposed and to then place each worker in time and space within this exposure environment. Then methods are applied to translate exposure to radiation into quantified radiation doses at the specific organs or tissues relevant to the types of cancer occurring among the workers. A hierarchy of methods is used in a dose reconstruction, depending on the nature of the exposure conditions and the type, quality, and completeness of data available to characterize the environment.
(a) If found to be complete and adequate, individual worker monitoring data, such as dosimeter readings and bioassay sample results, are given the highest priority in assessing exposure. These monitoring data are interpreted using additional data characterizing the workplace radiation exposures. If radiation exposures in the workplace environment cannot be fully characterized based on available data, default values based on reasonable and scientific assumptions may be used as substitutes. For dose reconstructions conducted in occupational illness compensation programs, this practice may include use of assumptions that represent the worst case conditions. For example, if the solubility classification of an inhaled material can not be determined, the dose reconstruction would use the classification that results in the largest dose to the organ or tissue relevant to the cancer and that is possible given existing knowledge of the material and process.
(b) If individual monitoring data are not available or adequate, dose reconstructions may use monitoring results for groups of workers with comparable activities and relationships to the radiation environment. Alternatively, workplace area monitoring data may be used to estimate the dose. As with individual worker monitoring data, workplace exposure characteristics are used in combination with workplace monitoring data to estimate dose.
(c) If neither adequate worker nor workplace monitoring data are available, the dose reconstruction may rely substantially on process description information to analytically develop an exposure model. For internal exposures, this model includes such factors as the quantity and composition of the radioactive substance (the source term), the chemical form, particle size distribution, the level of containment, and the likelihood of dispersion.