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 UT, your laboratory will need to be commissioned. Faculty members wishing to obtain a campus radiation authorization should contact the UT campus Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Ed Brentlinger (Ed.Brentlinger@ UToledo.edu), for information on authorization and other requirements.  For more information please review the Radiation Safety Manual.
What guides are there for radiation at UT?
For guidance on using radioactive materials and equipment that generates radiation, please review the 2005 revision of the  Radiation Safety Manual. You can also contact the UT campus Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), Ed Brentlinger (Ed.Brentlinger@ UToledo.edu).
Do you offer classes on radiation regulations and usage?
Yes there are several classes on radiation use. Please check the description and schedule for radiation classes.  
How do I order radioactive materials?
When ordering radioactive materials: Check your radiation permit. 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 UT Radiation Safety Manual .
When will my radioactive waste be picked up?
To request pickup of radioactive waste, prepare the waste according to the instructions, then call Radiation Safety (419.530.4741) to request a pickup.   
My geiger counter/survey instrument isn't working or is acting funny. What should I do?
If your geiger counter/survey instrument isn't working or is acting strangely, 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 RSO
  • Read the Rad Safety Manual policy regarding decommissioning of equipment and facilities.
  • Transfer unused radioactive material to permittees authorized for the isotope(s). Contact RSO prior to transfer.
  • Alternately, prepare radioactive waste for disposal and request pickup.
  • Survey for radioactive contamination. Decontaminate if necessary.
  • Remove or 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.
What is the procedure for transferring radioisotopes between researchers?
To transfer radioisotopes to another researcher, fill out the Transfer of Radioisotopes form. Send a copy of the form to Radiation Safety.  Also ensure that the research is permitted for that isotope.
Who is required to attend Radiation Safety training?
Each individual working in, or frequenting a radioactive material use area at UT should be provided information on any potential radiation hazards present in the area. Each authorized Principal Investigator is responsible for training the individuals working in his/her laboratory. Radiation Safety Personnel assist Principal Investigators by providing formal training on the UT radiation safety program. Individuals should not work with radioactive materials until they have attended a Radiation Safety Class, presented by UT. These classes are offered each semester.
Can I work with radiation producing equipment or radioactive material if I am pregnant?
Generally, yes. The vast majority of work performed at UT 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 designated 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 UT 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 permit.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 of radioactive material. Equipment for disposal must be surveyed prior to release for disposal. For broken equipment that has been used with radioactive material, a release survey must be completed prior to allowing UT repair persons or outside vendors to service the equipment. Use the form in the RAM Notebook.
Last Updated: 3/23/15