VIII. Radiation Protection Standards and Guidelines

The nature of the program which is the subject of this manual is radiation protection. The purpose of this section is to describe standards and guidelines for providing such protection.

VIII.A. ALARA and Campus Goals

One of the primary responsibilities of the Radiation Protection Program at Washington State University is to ensure that all radiation exposure to faculty, staff, and students is As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). ALARA considerations are dictated not only by reason and prudence but by requirements set forth in both the State of Washington and Federal regulations regarding radiation exposure. Accordingly, it will be the responsibility of the Radiation Safety Office to promote the ALARA philosophy and to assist radioisotope users in reducing radiation exposure wherever and whenever possible. ALARA considerations will take precedence over expedience in all activities involving radiation exposure.

VIII.B. Training

All personnel at Washington State University who work with radioactive materials or radiation machines, or who are likely to incur occupational exposure to ionizing radiations, must receive appropriate radiation protection training. An ongoing training program, conducted by the Radiation Safety Office, will be designed to fulfill the requirements of WAC-246-221-140, and WAC-246-222-030 by inclusion of the following topics.

VIII.B.1. Radiation Fundamentals

a. The Nature of Radioactivity

b. Sources of Radioactivity

(1) Natural Background Sources

(2) Manmade Sources

VIII.B.2. Measurement and Control of Exposure to Radiation

a. Types of Radiation and Their Characteristics

b. External Dosimetry

c. Exposure Control

(1) Exposure Time Limitation

(2) Distance from Radiation Sources

(3) Shielding

(4) Source Strength Reduction

(5) Use of Protection Apparel

d. Sources of Radioactive Materials Contamination

e. Source Identification and Control

f. Detection and Control of Contamination

g. Radiation Measurement and Survey Instruments

h. Origins, Storage, Handling, and Disposal of Radioactive Wastes.

VIII.B.3. Radiation Protection Program

a. Purpose and Relationship to Individual

b. ALARA Program

c. Radiation Areas

d. Signs and Labels

e. Personnel Monitoring and Exposure Control

f. Bioassay

g. Investigation and Reporting of Abnormal Exposures

h. Rules and Procedures

i. Pertinent State and Federal Regulations

(1) Dose Limits

(2) Concentration Values

(3) Reporting Requirements

(4) Reporting Responsibility

j. Professional Guidance and Assistance

k. Detection and Control of Radioactively Contaminated Equipment

l. Detection, Control and Removal of Radioactive Contamination from Personnel and Equipment

VIII.B.4. Biological Effects of Radiation

a. Carcinogenesis

b. Mutagenesis

c. Acute Exposure

d. Chronic Exposure

e. Collective Dose Concept

(1) Group Total Dose Risk

(2) Individual Dose Risk

f. Dose-Effect Relationship

(1) External Radiation

(2) Internal Radiation

VIII.B.5. Preparation for Emergencies and Incidents

a. Safety and Accident Control

b. Emergency Equipment

c. First Aid and Contaminated Wounds

d. Spills

VIII.B.6. Instructions Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure

All female employees and students who are assigned a personal monitoring device because of long-term occupational exposure to radiation at Washington State University will be instructed concerning prenatal radiation exposure. This instruction will include, but need not be limited to, providing each female employee (exposed to ionizing radiation) with a copy of the document entitled, "Possible Health Risks to Children of Women Who Are Exposed to Radiation During Pregnancy," (SPPM S.90.75) and explaining the contents thereof.

VIII.C. Dosimetry

The radiation dose encountered by each occupational worker is monitored by means of both external and internal dosimetry. External dosimetry available from the Radiation Safety Office consists of film badges and of thermoluminescent detectors in the form of ring badges for extremity monitoring. Internal dosimetry methods available at the Radiation Safety Office consist of bioassays for iodine isotopes (measured with thyroid scans) and for tritium (measured with urinalyses). Each type of dosimetry will be discussed in turn.

VIII.C.1. Personnel Monitoring

State regulations require personal monitors for every person who is likely to be exposed to an occupational radiation exposure equivalent to 40 mrem (0.4 mSv) per month. Individuals under 18 years of age who are likely to be exposed to the equivalent of 4 mrem (0.04 mSv) per month also must be provided with personal monitoring devices. Faculty members, staff employees, students and other individuals who are likely to be exposed to ionizing radiation from radioactive materials or radiation machines which are under the administrative control of Washington State University will be supplied with monitoring devices and required to wear them at all times during work with radiation.

VIII.C.2. Bioassays

a. General

In order to ensure the health and safety of individuals working with certain highly toxic radionuclides, the Radiation Safety Office operates a bioassay program. Bioassay is required for persons working with the following listed radionuclides at the specified activity levels. It is the responsibility of the authorized user to ensure that persons under his or her supervision who require bioassays go to the Radiation Safety Office and have the bioassays performed. Bioassays will be arranged with the Radiation Safety Office on an appointment basis.

b. Tritium H-3

Periodic urinalyses are required for all personnel working directly with 100 mCi (3.7 GBq) or more of H-3 in a month. However, use of sealed tritium sources or tritium in quantities of less than 2 Ci (54 GBq) absorbed on metal foils is exempt from this requirement. A pre-use baseline measurement will be made initially. The post-use measurement should be made within ten working days after each use involving 100 mCi (3.7 GBq) or more of tritium. Whenever it appears that uses of smaller quantities will provide a total of 100 mCi (3.7 GBq) or more in a month, the pre-use baseline will be established and monthly urinalyses undergone.

c. Iodine I-125

Thyroid scans are generally required for all personnel working with 0.1 mCi (3.7 MBq) or more of I-125 in a calendar quarter. This requirement has been modified to follow the Department of Health Guidelines for various forms of material and modes of use, as set forth in (SPPM S90.70). The scans should be scheduled within 6 to 72 hours after each iodination or other experiment in which the individual could have inhaled iodine vapors. Moreover, a baseline scan is required for each individual prior to use, and upon termination, and a control person designated for each using laboratory must undergo a scan quarterly.

d. Radiation Incidents

A bioassay will be performed on individuals involved in a radiation incident in which radioactive materials may have been ingested or inhaled.

VIII.D. Records

The Radiation Safety Office will be responsible for maintaining records on the monitoring service and on bioassays. Personal monitoring devices assigned to individuals will be processed at least quarterly. The Radiation Safety Office will maintain a current occupational radiation exposure history for each individual who is assigned a monitoring device in a format that complies with the requirements of WAC 246-221-090. Furthermore, a copy of the annual summary of the dose registered for each occupational worker will be sent to the worker each year.

VIII.E. Medical Surveillance

A person, who has been exposed to excessive levels of radiation, or of hazardous chemical or biological materials, may be required to undergo medical surveillance.

VIII.E.1. Excessive Radiation Exposure

An individual who may have been exposed to levels of radiation in excess of regulatory limits, probably as a consequence of a spill or other accident, may be required to undergo appropriate medical surveillance in order to establish the damage incurred.

VIII.E.2. Excessive Exposure to Chemical or Biological Hazards

An individual who may have been exposed to unusual levels of biological or chemical hazards, probably as a consequence of an incident or accident, may be required to undergo appropriate medical surveillance in order to ascertain the level of damage incurred.

VIII.F. Postings and Labeling

VIII.F.1. General

State regulations specify that all rooms or areas that contain licensed quantities of radioactive materials will be properly posted. Moreover, all containers of radioactive materials must be properly tagged. The radiation sign or label should be colored magenta, purple, or black on a yellow background. Faded signs should be replaced. All signs, labels or tags must be kept current and hence removed when no longer appropriate. However, only Radiation Safety Office personnel are authorized to remove postings of rooms or areas, once a proper checkout survey has been completed. All authorized users will be expected to ensure that signs and labels are properly installed in all areas and laboratories under their respective jurisdictions. Deficiencies in compliance can jeopardize an authorization to use radioactive materials.

VIII.F.2. Room or Area

A room or area is any space in which radioactive material or radiation sources are used or stored. This definition includes laboratory rooms, counting rooms, cold rooms, and animal rooms, as well as refrigerators, freezers, cabinets, hoods, and storage caves.

Rooms and areas in which more than 10 times the quantity of radioactive material given in WAC 246-221-300 is stored or used must be labeled with the radiation symbol and the words, CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL, except in the following instances:

a. when material is present for less than 8 hours and attended,

b. when material is in transit in properly labeled transport packages, or

c. when material is a "sealed source" and radiation is less than 5 mrem/hr (50 Sv/hr) at 12 inches from a properly labeled storage container.

Each high radiation area must be conspicuously posted with the radiation propeller sign and the words, CAUTION HIGH RADIATION AREA.

Access to high radiation areas must be restricted by control devices which can be approved only by the Director, Radiation Safety Office.

VIII.F.3. Containers

A container is any vessel, opened or closed, in which radioactive material is used or stored. The innermost container that may be removed from outer labeled containers should have at least a minimal label. The outer layer of normal containment should be labeled with complete information as required below. The label should be obvious to anyone approaching the containers and easily read without risk to the observer. Additional containment should not obscure the label; if it does, additional labels are necessary.

Each container of radioactive material with amounts more than the WAC 246-221-300 quantities of radioactive material must be labeled with the radiation propeller sign and the words, CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL. The label should also state as appropriate:

a. kinds of material,

b. activity,

c. date of activity, and

d. any precautions or handling instructions.

Exceptions to the labeling requirement occur:

e. when material is present for less than 8 hours and attended,

f. when material is in a labeled transport package,

g. when material is in a concentration less than that listed in WAC 246-221-290, Column 2, Table I,

h. when material is attended by a person who will assure that proper precautions are taken, and

i. when material is in laboratory ware and is in use in a laboratory procedure and is attended.

(Please note that "attended" as used here means that a person is present who is knowledgeable of the radiation hazard.)