Radiation FAQ

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Radiation Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Radiation Information

Training Information

Badge Information

Bioassay

Purchasing Information

Shipping/Transportation Information

 

General Radiation Information

  • How can I learn more about radiation?

Answer: You can start by visiting our web page and reading our radiation training manual http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Assets/ehs3/rad/Rad+Manual.pdf). We offer specialized safety training for all users of radioactive materials, irradiators, x-ray machines, lasers. The training is free for all U of T faculty, staff and students.

There is also general radiation information available at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal regulator, website: http://www.cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca/

Another good source of information for everyday radiation interests is the US Environmental Protection Agency website: http://www.epa.gov/radtown/

  • Where can I find safety information about a certain radionuclide?

Answer: You can find information about most common used radionuclides in our university on our web page: (http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Programs_and_Services/Radiation_Safety/radtraining/periodictable.htm)

A larger number of radioisotopes are covered at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission website: Radiation Safety Data Sheets (http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/radiationsafety/index.cfm).

Also every time you receive a new compound containing a radioactive material the company sends the MSDS together with the shipment.

  • How much radiation is too much?

Very useful information about the dose received in daily activities can be found in this radiation dose chart

  • Where can I find regulatory information about Nuclear Safety?

Answer: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) operates and enforces regulations under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA). Regulatory information can be found at the CNSC website: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/lawsregs/index.cfm

  • What is industrial radiography?

Answer: Radiography sources of considerable energy are used by contracted workers to estimate concrete thickness and safety for concrete drilling in University buildings. To perform radiography a work permit must first be approved by the Radiation Protection Service: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Assets/ehs3/rad/Radiography+System.pdf. Part of the approval process is to ensure that everybody within the possible range of irradiated area is informed ahead of the scheduled irradiation.

  •     If I need to use animals in connection with radioisotopes what do I need?
  • Answer: Beside the radioisotope permit you will need to contact Research&Innovation at: http://www.research.utoronto.ca/for-researchers-administrators/ethics/animals-in-research/ to obtain approval for use of animals in research.

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    Training Information

    • Do I require any training before working with radioactive materials?

    Answer: Yes. Any new student, faculty or staff that will be working with ionizing radiation, including radioisotopes, x-rays, lasers, and irradiators, requires specialized training.

    1. Radiation Safety Training is a course intended for any worker that will be handling open sources of radioisotopes in the lab. This course is 8 hrs long. Refresher training is required every 3 years. In addition to this general radiation safety training you need work specific training. This training should be given by the Principal Investigator or his/her designate.
    2. We also offer a Radiation Safety for Project Students course. This is a course intended for students conducting summer projects or undergraduate project work. Students must work under supervision of the Principal Investigator or another authorized radiation worker when handling radioactive materials. This course is 3 hrs long.
    3. The Sealed Sources Safety course is an on-line training course required for people that will use only sealed sources, like irradiators or equipment that houses sealed sources (i.e: gas chromatograph). Refresher training is required every 3 years. 

    Click here to register for any safety courses or to view/print a record of your EHS training history, or to cancel or change the session you are registered in.

    • I was trained at another institution. Can I be exempt from the radiation training?

    Answer: No. If you are an experienced user with previous training at another institution, you are not required to participate in the whole training program (8 hr). All institutions have radiation safety programs that apply to their own set of policies and guidelines. Experienced workers need to be trained on the administration of the University of Toronto Radiation Safety Program only, and to prove their knowledge of basics of radiation safety by passing the exam. To prepare for the exam we recommend you read our radiation training manual before coming to the one hour admin training: (http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Programs_and_Services/Radiation_Safety/radtraining.htm).

    1. The Radiation Safety - Administrative Part is a 1 hr course plus the exam. Refresher training is required every 3 years.

    Click here to register for any safety course or to view/print a record of your EHS training history, or to cancel or change the session you are registered in.

    • Do I need training to use a laser?

    Answer: Yes if you are using a class 3B or class 4 laser or laser system and the laser is not embedded in a class 1 system (for laser classification please see: (http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Programs_and_Services/laserpg/lasdef2.htm). The laser safety training is offered by the Radiation Protection Service free for all U of T faculty, staff and students. 

    1. The Laser Safety training is a 6 hr course. Refresher training is required every 3 years.  In addition to this general laser safety training you need work specific training. This training should be given by the Principal Investigator or his/her designate.

    Click here to register for any safety course or to view/print a record of your EHS training history, or to cancel or change the session you are registered in.

    • Do I need training to use an X-ray machine?

    Answer: Yes if you are going to use any X-ray machine at the University of Toronto. The X-ray safety training is offered by the Radiation Protection Service free for all U of T faculty, staff and students.  

    1. The X-ray Safety training is a 3 hr course. In addition to this general X-ray safety training offered by the Radiation Protection Service you need work specific training given by the Principal Investigator or his/her designate. Refresher training is required every 3 years.

    Click here to register for any safety course or to view/print a record of your EHS training history, or to cancel or change the session you are registered in.

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      Badge Information

    • Do I need a radiation badge?

    Answer: The radiation badge (Thermoluminescent Dosimeter [TLD]) is the main method for determining how much radiation a worker is exposed to. Not all radiation workers require a TLD. Radiation badges are required for individuals planning to work with high energy beta emitters (eg. P-32, Sr-89, Y-90, etc.), or gamma emitters (eg. I-125, Cr-51, K-42, In-111, etc.). Also, individuals working with, or planning to work with x-ray machines require TLDs.

    If you are uncertain whether you require a badge, you should discuss with your principal investigator what radionuclides you will be using and should be directed to our website for information on which radionuclide usages require TLD wear: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/radiation/radtraining/nuclideinformation.htm

    Information on dosimetry requirements for a number of common radioisotopes can also be found on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission website Radiation Safety Data Sheets: (http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/radiationsafety/index.cfm).

    • Do I need a ring TLD?

    Answer: Yes, if you work with more than 1 mCi of high energy beta emitters (eg. P-32, Sr-89, Y-90, etc.), or gamma emitters (eg. I-125, Cr-51, K-42, In-111, etc.). Also, individuals working with open x-ray machines may require a ring TLD.

    • How do I get a TLD badge/radiation badge?

    Answer: The radiation worker should request a TLD by filling out the Radiation Badge Application Form. Sometimes we need to change the form. Please make sure you are using the one on the web link above and not an old form found in the lab. This form needs to be approved by the Principal Investigator (PI)/ worker’s supervisor before it is given to the badge coordinator.

    • Who is the badge coordinator?

    Answer: Laboratories or departments usually designate a departmental or laboratory badge coordinator for the administration of the radiation badges. This administration includes the prompt issuance, collection and distribution of the badges and rings. You should inquire from your permit holder who is the designated badge coordinator for your lab.

    The responsibilities of the badge coordinator include:

    1) Authorization of the TLD application order form after approval from the PI. The badge coordinator needs to authorize the form by indicating the Cost Centre (CC), the Central Fund Centre (CFC) to which the badges will be billed, and the Global Account Number (please do not use old Landauer account numbers).

    2) Faxing application forms to the radiation protection service.

    3) Prompt distribution of all new TLD badges during the quarterly turnover period.

    4) Prompt collection of all TLD badges during the quarterly turnover period.

    5) Assure that old badges are sent to 215 Huron St, room 702 by Campus Mail within 10 business days from the arrival date of the new quarterly badges.

    6) Indicating any badge changes on the packing slips, including address changes, name changes, and badge deletions.

    • What is a turnover period?

    Answer: Each quarter (90 days), the badges are sent to Global (http://www.dosimetry.com/) to be read for exposure and new badges are sent back to the university to be issued to the radiation workers. This change over is the quarterly turnover period. Quarterly turnover dates are Jan. 15, Apr. 15, July 15 and Oct. 15. Spare badges may be issued at any point during the interim before the quarterly collection date, and the Badge Coordinators should inquire from the lab if any extra badges should be collected at the quarterly turnover pickup, i.e., do not rely strictly on the packing slip when collecting the badges at the end of the quarter.

    • What do I do with the packing slip?

    Answer: The badge coordinator for the lab should maintain this packing slip until the quarterly turnover period, at which time the badges should be collected and returned, with the slip, to 215 Huron St. Room 702.  Any changes for the badges should be indicated on the packing slip on the reverse side. Changes include: name changes, whole body or extremity badge deletions, TLD type changes, etc.

    • When is a radiation badge canceled?

    Answer: A radiation badge is deleted when the radiation worker leaves our university or stops working with radioactive materials that require a radiation badge. When a radiation permit is archived or inactivated, the badges for the workers under that permit should be canceled. The cancelation is not automatic. The badge coordinator has to complete the packing slip indicating which badges should be deleted.

    • Why do I receive a badge that was requested to be deleted?

    Answer: In some instances the badges would already be triggered in the system for that quarter. The deletion will be effective for the next quarter.

    • How do I know the results of my radiation badge readings?

    Answer: To read the results of your own dose please follow the instruction found at: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/radiation/read_your_dose_record.htm

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    Bioassay

    • What is a bioassay?

    Answer: The bioassay is the second method (after radiation badge) used to estimated the radiation dose of a radiation worker. In our university we use two bioassays: direct measurement of I-125 or I-131 in your thyroid, and urinalysis.

    • Do I need a bioassay?

    Answer: If you work or are involved in spill of free I-125 or I-131 in any quantity book an appointment at 416-978-6846 or 416-946-3265 for a thyroid screening within 4 days.

    Urinalysis is required when large quantities of open sources are handled. The radiation permit will contain a condition to that effect, if necessary. More information about bioassay requirements are found at: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Assets/ehs3/rad/Rad+Manual.pdf

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    Purchasing Information

    • I want to order radioactive materials. What is the procedure for this?

    Answer: All requisitions for radioactive materials must be approved by the radiation protection service before a Purchase Order (PO) number is issued. There are only 2 approved methods for purchasing. Full details and procedures can be found on our website:

    (http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Programs_and_Services/Radiation_Safety/radpurch.htm).

    • Who do I contact if the Purchase Order is not approved?

    Answer: Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer at: 416-946-3265 or 416-978-6846.

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    Shipping/Transportation Information

    • We need to ship some radioactive material to another university. What do I do?

    Answer: Planning ahead is very important for this action: Please complete the form found at: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/Assets/ehs+Digital+Assets/ehs3/rad/RadTransferring.pdf and fax it to 416-971-1361 at least 5 days ahead of planned shipment. Some shipments abroad require an export permit (like shipping H-3 in any quantity). Please allow a few months for this kind of shipment.

    • We will be receiving some shipped radioactive material from another institution. Is there someone I need to inform?

    Answer: Yes. All radioactive materials received on campus must be approved by the Radiation Protection Service (RPS) before its arrival. All labs have permitted quantities of radioisotopes that they can receive and store. Approval must be received to ensure that the shipment is within these allowable limits. Furthermore, federal regulations require that the radiation protection service have an accurate inventory of all radioactive materials held on campus, and therefore the lab must inform the RPS of the anticipated shipment for proper documentation of the inventory.

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