Arncliffe company fined after incorrectly disposing radioactive material

An Arncliffe company has been fined after incorrectly disposing radioactive material.

Global Medical Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, which manufactures and distributes radiopharmaceuticals, was convicted in Sutherland Local Court and fined $6,000 for the illegal disposal of a regulated radioactive substance.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford, said although there was no evidence of actual harm, the unlawful disposal had the potential to cause serious harm.

“In 2016 radioactive material, Iodine-131, from Global Medical Solutions’ Arncliffe facility was inadvertently put into their general waste and was ultimately transported to a landfill where it triggered a radiation alarm,” he said.

“The EPA was notified, and EPA officers secured the material and launched an investigation.”

As part of safety procedures, the material should only have been disposed as general waste, after the radioactivity had decayed to a safe level in a special purpose on-site bin.

In this instance, the material was disposed while its radioactivity remained active above acceptable levels.

He said the company had put in new procedures after the incident.

“Since the incident, Global Medical Solutions has put a significant number of improvements in place, including improved plant, equipment and handling processes, additional training for employees and enhanced radiation monitoring to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of incident,’’ he said.