“14C is one of the radionuclides for which the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has developed performance testing programmes (PTPs). During the PTP exercises, clients receive samples of natural urine containing spiked radionuclides, for testing. In these programmes, urine has disadvantages.
These include (1) slow collection times from donors, (2) unpleasant smell and (3) potential to transmit diseases.”
Prompting Joseph N Daka and colleagues at the Canadian National Calibration Reference Centre for Bioassay and In Vivo Monitoring, National Internal Radiation Assessment, Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada, to come up with a solution. In the form of a significantly less unpleasant substitute – tea. In “Preparation and application of steeps of tea as new simulations of urine for the performance testing programme of 14C,” they write:
“The results of tea solutions compared well with those of urine. It was concluded that tea steeps, of which the spectroscopic and colour quenching properties have been adjusted, do provide appropriate urine simulations, suitable for use in PTPs.”
Sample publications explaining the technique: