Risk assessment requirements for radioactive therapeutic implants and/or injections
The safety of cremation or the handling of ashes may be affected if the deceased received therapeutic radioactive implants and/or injections shortly before death. Some types of cancers require these treatments.
The radioactive decay safety time frames of the isotopes are as follows. If treatment was received outside of these times, it does not pose a cremation risk.
Radioactive isotopes relevant to cremation
- Strontium-89 injection (eg for bone metastases) received during the 12 months prior to death
- Iodine-125 seed implant (eg for prostate cancer) received during the 12 months prior to death
- Samarium-153 received during the 2 weeks prior to death
- Rhenium-188 received during the 2 weeks prior to death
- Yttrium-90 received during the 2 weeks prior to death
- Iodine-131 received during the week prior to death
If any of the radioisotopes has been administered within the time frame specified, the following process is to occur.
- The medical practitioner completing form 7 must contact the radiation safety officer at the treating institution and obtain a written radiation safety certificate which specifies any conditions on the cremation or handling of ashes.
» Contact details of treating institutions
- The written radiation safety certificate must be attached to the form 7 and provided to the medical referee, to inform the decision on cremation.
- The medical referee must provide the written radiation safety certificate to the funeral director with the permit to cremate, should this be issued.
- The funeral director must provide the written radiation safety certificate, along with the permit to cremate, to the crematorium.