Radiation Safety

Ionizing Radiation hazards include radioactive materials (RAM) used in biological research, analytical and diagnostic x-ray equipment, and sealed sources. Ionizing radiation can cause damage to human cells through ionization, or removal of electrons from a molecule or atom. At high levels, ionizing radiation can cause cellular death (possibly leading to tissue or organ damage). At lower levels, ionization can cause damage to cellular DNA, increasing the risk of cancer.

PIs or researchers planning to work with RAM must complete a Radiation User Authorization Form, and they must have submitted a Radiation Registration form. All PIs or researchers must also complete an 8-hour radiation safety training course and a hands-on radiation safety session.

Non-ionizing Radiation hazards include lasers, ultraviolet lamps, and low frequency radiation (e.g., radios and microwaves). Even though radiation from these sources is non-ionizing, they can still be dangerous – severe eye damage, skin burns, or internal organ damage can occur as a result of overexposure to non-ionizing radiation.

All Class 3b and Class 4 lasers must be registered with EHS, and must comply with safety guidelines of the American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers in Research, Development, or Testing (ANSI Z136.8-2012).  To register a Class 3b or Class 4 laser, please complete a Laser Equipment Registration Form and submit to EHS.

For additional information on ionizing or non-ionizing radiation safety programs, or to request training or assistance, please contact EHS.