After a radiological event, many questions may need to be answered to help health officials mitigate a public health crisis, such as: Where did the fallout spread? Did it impact crops, livestock, or water supplies? Who was exposed, to what, and how much?
Laboratory testing may be necessary to answer these vital questions, but very few (if any) U.S. laboratories possess the capacity to analyze the large number of clinical, environmental, food, or agricultural samples that would arise during a radiation emergency on U.S. soil. Given such limited capacity, decisionmakers and laboratory directors face difficult decisions about the order in which samples are analyzed.
This document provides an overview of some considerations that decisionmakers might include in the prioritization process. It is not a guidance document, as each incident will present its own challenges. A task force created by the National Alliance for Radiation Readiness developed these considerations