Cancer patient's treatment leaves radiation contamination in crematory

Coffin burning in crematory.

(CNN)Radioactivity was detected on the oven, vacuum filter and bone crusher of an Arizona crematory where a deceased man who'd received radiation therapy was incinerated, according to a new case report. Worse still, a radioactive compound unrelated to the dead man was detected in the urine of an employee there.

"It is plausible that the crematory operator was exposed while cremating other human remains," Dr. Nathan Yu of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and his co-authors wrote in the case report, published Tuesday in JAMA.