Hundreds of medical experts from almost 90 countries and 17 international organisations gather from 3-7 December in Bonn, Germany, at the IAEA's International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine - Setting the Scene for the Next Decade to discuss the pressing issue of overexposure to ionizing radiation, the threat posed to patients and health workers, and ways to handle and reverse the problem.
Now for the first time in history, several countries are experiencing population doses from medical uses of radiation that exceed those from natural background radiation and have fully eclipsed those from other artificial sources.
As such, there is a strong and continuing need to protect patients and medical staff from accidental and unnecessary exposure.
The radiation protection conference is intended to culminate with a detailed plan of action for the reduction of medical radiation exposure. "Together in this Conference, we can arrive at a point which will guide our work in the next decade. It is up to all of us together to formulate the call to action for the next decade," says Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.
Facts and Figures
It is estimated that 10 million people receive diagnostic, therapeutic or interventional medical radiation procedures every day.
The number of occupationally exposed workers is much higher in medicine than in any other professional field.
Individual occupational exposure also varies widely among those involved in medical care.
The majority of medical procedures using ionizing radiation are performed safely and with good reason. But the growing number of procedures that are neither medically justifiable nor done safely enough, is worrying.