Introduction to Gamma radiation

Sterilisation of medical products is most critical for controlling microbial contamination. Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation, like X-rays. The other two types of natural radioactivity are alpha and beta radiation, which are in the form of particles. The primary industrial sources of gamma rays are radionuclide elements such as Cobalt 60, which emit gamma rays during radioactive decay. Gamma rays pass readily through any material and kill bacteria by breaking the covalent bonds of bacterial DNA. The absorbed dose is measured in units called kiloGrays (kGy).

Gamma irradiation provides a number of benefits in cost and sterility assurance. It can be applied under safe, well-defined, and controlled operating parameters, and is not a heat- or moisture generating process. Consequently, there is no heat stress and condensate drainage or out gassing is not required. Most importantly, there is no residual radioactivity after irradiation while the other method of sterilization i.e using Ethylene oxide (ETO) requires control of temperature, time of exposure, pressure, vacuum, humidity, quarantine after the process apart from leaving residual toxic substance on the products. Gamma irradiation is the most efficient method of sterilization which require only one parameter mainly “Time of exposure” to be monitored. It is absolutely environment-friendly process.

The simplicity and speed of gamma radiation sterilization is a great part of its appeal for sterilizing health care products, components, and packaging. The product being sterilized is placed near the radiation source until the required dose is absorbed. This low-temperature process can sterilize a package at under 100° F (38° C). Products exposed to these gamma rays acquire no radioactivity. This allows the product to be used immediately after sterilization. Gamma Rays penetrate both thick and thin objects, as well as dense materials. The high penetration allows materials to be sterilized in bulk.

For the manufacturers of the medical facilities and the end users, labeling “Gamma irradiation” on the product packages means the reliable and effective way for sterilization. This is the most trustable and effective advertisement for promoting the products. Gamma Irradiation is the best choice not only for the manufacturers to process their products but for the end users who are satisfied with the products which are processed with Gamma Irradiation.