Hospital security gaps place radioactive materials at risk

The Government Accountability Office is asking federal regulators for stronger standards requiring health facilities to tighten security over the storage of radioactive medical isotopes after inspections at 26 hospitals revealed that such material was vulnerable to tampering and theft.

A Monday GAO report found inconsistencies in the amount of attention individual hospitals and outpatient services give to securing their isotope supplies--radioactive source material used in cancer radiation and blood therapies.

"Unsecured radiological materials at hospitals across the country could be used by terrorists to build a dirty bomb that would have devastating social and economic consequences," Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, said according to The Washington Post. --Read the full article on FierceHealthIT