Radiation Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to begin using radioactive materials in my lab.  What do I need to do?

In order to use radioactive materials at the University of Toledo, your laboratory will need to be commissioned. Faculty members wishing to obtain a campus radiation authorization should contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Joe Agosti (joseph.agosti@utoledo.edu), for information on authorization and other requirements.  For more information please review the Radiation Safety Manual and fill out an Application for Use Form.
What guides are there for radiation at the University of Toledo?
For guidance on using radioactive materials please review the Radiation Safety Manual or contact the Radiation Safety Office at (419)383-4301. For guidance on using radiation generation equipment please contact the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Joe Agosti (joseph.agosti@utoledo.edu).
Do you offer classes on radiation regulations and usage?
Yes.  We offer a three hour Radiation Safety Seminar to all new users.  In addition, there is a Radiation Safety Refresher Training on the University of Toledo Test Bank that is required to be completed by all users annually.
How do I order radioactive materials?
When ordering radioactive materials: Check your Certificate of Use. Ensure that you are authorized to possess the radioisotope that you are ordering and also ensure that the amount of activity you are ordering will not cause your laboratory to exceed its possession limit of that radioisotope. If you need to increase your possession limit(s), contact the RSO. Information that must be included on the request includes isotope, total activity and name of permittee. All radioactive materials must be shipped according to DOT regulations.  Depending on the isotope, additional precautions or locations may apply.
How do I dispose of radioactive waste?
Guidelines for disposal of solid, liquid and animal carcass radioactive waste can be found in the University of Toledo Radiation Safety Manual .
When will my radioactive waste be picked up?
To request pickup of radioactive waste call Radiation Safety (419) 383-4301 to request a pickup.   
My geiger counter/survey instrument isn't working properly. What should I do?
If your geiger counter/survey instrument isn't working properly, try the following:
  • Replace the batteries in the meter.
  • Check to see if the speaker is turned on. 
  • Check to ensure that the window of the probe is intact and unbroken.
  • Disconnect, then reconnect the cable from the probe to the meter.
  • If it still doesn't work, contact one of the NMED-approved venders for repair.
What is the proper procedure for closing out a laboratory if it is being moved/vacated?
When moving/vacating a radioisotope laboratory, listed on your permit:
  • Notify the Radiation Safety Officer joseph.agosti@utoledo.edu   (419) 383-4301
  • Read the Rad Safety Manual policy regarding decommissioning of equipment and facilities.
  • Prepare radioactive waste for disposal and request pickup.
  • Survey for radioactive contamination. Decontaminate if necessary.
  • Remove and deface all radiation symbols inside the laboratory.
  • Contact the RSO to schedule a final survey and closeout.
  • For more information please see the Radiation Safety Manual.
Who is required to attend Radiation Safety training?
Each individual working in a radioactive material lab or frequenting a radioactive material lab area at the University of Toledo should be provided with information on any potential radiation hazards present in the area.  Each Principal Investigator is responsible for providing lab specific training to the individuals working in his/her laboratory to assure their safety and compliance with all regulations and University of Toledo policies.  The Radiation Safety Department assists Principal Investigators by providing a formal 3 hour Radiation Safety Seminar.  The seminar is offered every 4 months.  Individuals are not permitted to work unsupervised with radioactive materials until they have attended the 3 hour Radiation Safety Seminar.  Once an individual has completed the 3 hour Radiation Safety Seminar they will only be required to complete a Radiation Safety Refresher course annually.  The Radiation Safety Refresher course is offered on the University of Toledo test bank. 
Can I work with radiation producing equipment or radioactive material if I am pregnant?
Generally, yes. The vast majority of work performed at the University of Toledo with radioactive materials can continue without modification during pregnancy. 

Once a person declares to her employer in writing of her pregnancy, new dose limits apply and the person must obtain a fetal dosimeter. This radiation badge is worn at the waist to monitor the exposure to the unborn child. Regulations require that the dose for the 9 months of pregnancy must not exceed 500 mRem. Safety personnel can review your prior exposure history and your current projects that involve the use of radioactive materials or radiation producing equipment. This will provide an estimate of the likely exposure that may be received during the duration of pregnancy. This review may also result in suggestions to further reduce your exposure to radiation. Because the fetus is sensitive to radioiodine, the RSO may suggest that you not perform iodinations during your pregnancy. Because of the increased sensitivity of the fetus, the RSO may suggest you limit your use of some very large sealed sources of radioactive material.

Is there a limit to the amount of radioactive material that can be stored in the laboratory at one time?
Yes. When a Principal Investigator is granted approval to use radioactive material by the Radiation Safety Committee, certain limits are authorized. The maximum amount allowed to be in the possession of one principal investigator at one time is stated on the Certificate of Use. This total, including waste and experiments in progress in the labs, must not exceed the authorization limits. See your individual PI or the RSO for information about the specific limits in your research group.Contact the RSO if you need your limits changed.
What is ALARA?
ALARA is a philosophy of excellence used in one's day-to-day work with radioactive materials. It is when one strives to keep one's radiation exposure As Low as Reasonably Achievable. Some, often easy, changes in procedures can greatly reduce one's radiation exposure. The ALARA philosophy encourages one to actively seek out these methods of exposure reduction.  For more information please see the Radation Safety Manual.
Does lab equipment require decontamination prior to disposal, repair or servicing?
Yes, there are strict controls on the disposal or repair of lab equipment. Equipment for disposal, repair or servicing must be surveyed prior to release.
Last Updated: 5/13/16