For the first time, the country’s atomic energy watchdog has sealed five medical diagnostic X-ray facilities following a surprise check on April 16. These facilities in Sion, Govandi and Sanpada did not have the mandatory registration of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

“Though all these facilities are having low radiological risks, they have been found not having the requisite ‘Registration’ from AERB (sic). These facilities are also found to be not conforming to some for the requirements specified by the AERB,” read a statement from the Board.

The board has also asked six other facilities, including one at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital and Medical College, Sion, and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Hospital, Vashi, to comply with the norms set under the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004, within 30 days. If they fail to comply, the regulatory body has decided to permanently seal the facilities.

“In the recent times, we have started taking a lot of efforts to get x-ray machines registered under the AERB and fulfil all requirements. They do not pose significant risk of radiation,” said S Harikumar, secretary, AERB.

On April 8, the board issued advertisements warning diagnostic x-ray facilities to comply with their rules.

“Four weeks ago, we applied online for registration and are yet to receive the password only after which we can proceed,” said Dr Suleman Merchant, dean, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital and Medical College, Sion.

While x-ray facilities do not use radioactive substances, x-rays emit radiation in insignificant doses. However, the AERB rules set limits on the amount of radiation that those operating the machines can be exposed to annually.

“Since those operating the machines are exposed to radiation over a long period of time, they are supposed to wear a thermo luminescent dosimeter (TLD) badge that will monitor the radiation levels,” said Harikumar.

While x-ray equipment manufacturers have to meet safety standards, the AERB has initiated measures to strengthen regulatory cover for medical diagnostic equipment in the country. Last year, the nuclear watchdog introduced an e-licensing system that will enable owners of diagnostic facilities to apply for a registration online and also submit compliance reports.

Under AERB radar
The nuclear watchdog has sealed the following facilities:

* Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Govandi

* Healthcare Diagnostic Lab, Sion

* Metro Care Diagnostic Centre, Sion

* Millennium Life Line Hospital, Sanpada

* New Millennium Multispeciality Hospital, Sanpada

These facilities have got notices from AERB:
* Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Hospital and Medical College, Sion

* Dr VT Shah Diagnostic Centre and Clinic, Matunga

* Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Hospital, Vashi

* Insight CBCT, Vashi

* Health Spring, Vashi

* Neway Hospital, Sanpada