Radiation Protection Today Winter 2021 - Page 24

An Overview of the Radiological Protection System in Hong Kong

Kin Yin Cheung is based at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and Chairman of the Hong Kong Institution of Physicists in Medicine . He is a former President of the International Organisation for Medical Physics .
The first recorded use of ionising radiation in Hong Kong was in May 1910 , when the first X-ray machine was installed in a private hospital used for the diagnosis of bone fractures and treatment of tuberculosis of the bones . Later , in the early 1930s , radium tubes were used by gynecologists for the treatment of cervical cancers . Dedicated therapeutic X-ray machines were introduced in 1937 , and clinical use of radioisotopes such as iodine- 131 , iodine-125 and chromium-51 started in the late 1950s . Industrial use of radioisotopes began in the 1950s , when watch manufacturers were using radium-activated luminous paint to make night-luminous watches and clocks . Thorium nitrate was also used in factories that made gas mantles for lighting .
Radiation safety of workers became a major concern of the industrial health officials , especially when watch companies started to sub-contract the luminous watch painting process to private individuals - who were not fully aware of the potential hazard of the paint they were dealing with . A code of practice was drawn up by the government in around 1957 . The safety code became the foundation for the Radiation Ordinance in Hong Kong , which was promulgated in 1959 with two subsidiary sets of regulations enacted in 1965 for controlling all activities involving manufacture , sale , export , import , conveyance , possession or use of radioactive substances or irradiating apparatus . The Radiation Board was established for implementation of the Ordinance .
A film badge personal-dose-monitoring service was set up in a government hospital at about the same time and was made available to all radiation workers in Hong Kong . Film badges were replaced by TLD badges in 1984 . The executive roles of the Radiation Board , such as licencing inspection and personal dose monitoring of workers , were supported by medical physicists working in government hospitals . These responsibilities were transferred to the health physicists in 1982 , when the Radiation Health Unit was set up to take on the executive role of the Radiation Board . In 2020 more than 13,000 people were required to wear a TLD badge while on duty . Over 75 % of them were employed in the medical and dental sector , and about 8 % in the industrial sector . The rest of the radiation workers were mainly from the educational , engineering , fire safety , customs and security sectors .
Low-level Radioactive Waste Storage Facility in Hong Kong , built by the Environmental Protection Department of the Hong Kong Government in 2006 for low-level legacy radioactive substances of long half-lives that had accumulated since the 1920s . Photo taken by Geoffrey Mauldoon , the first medical physicist in Hong Kong .
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