and Bruce J. Barron2
Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA
School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
1 Flash Facts Radiation Safety
1 rem = 1000 mrem = 10 mSv = 0.01 Sv
Public exposure: 100 mrem/year = 0.1 rem/year = 1 mSv/year = 0.001 Sv/year.
Occupational exposure: 5,000 mrem/year = 5 rem/year = 50 mSv/year = 0.05 Sv/year.
Pregnancy exposure: 0.5 rem = 500 mrem = 5 mSv from date of conception until end of pregnancy (10 CFR Part 35.1208).
Radiation area exposure: > 5 mrem/h at 30 cm.
High radiation area: > 0.1 rem/h at 30 cm. Door sign: Yellow color for high radiation area, which requires RWP (radiation work permit) for entry. Example of a door sign: “Dose rate at this point is (x) mrem/h, posted on (Date) by (radiation personnel).”
Public area radiation level limits (unrestricted area): 100 mrem in 1 year and 2 mrem in any 1 h.
Patient release after I-131 treatment:
<7 mrem/h at 1 m from the chest or <33 mCi I-131 NaI (NRC Regulations).
<5 mrem/h at 1 m from the chest or <30 mCi I-131 NaI (some Agreement State Regulations).
Eye limit dose (lens): 15 rem = 0.15 Sv = 150 mSv = 0.15 Sv/year.
Whole body (same as occupational exposure): 5 rem = 0.05 Sv = 50 mSv.
Extremity dose: 50 rem = 0.5 Sv = 500 mSv.
Household contact exposure: < 0.5 rem (5 mSv); child < 0.1 rem (1 mSv).
Yellow radiation sign: Caution radiation area; personnel dosimetry required.
Written Directive required for
30 µCi I-131 or 1.11MBq.
Disposal of Radioactive Material
Monitor surface of each container.
Survey surface with Geiger counter, < 0.05 mrem/h.
Remove shields to measure properly.
Record day collected and disposal data.
Minor Spill (Major Spill Is Above These Values)
Tl-201, Tc-99m <100 mCi.
I-131 < 1 mCi.
I-123, In-111, Ga-67 < 10 mCi.
Procedure for Minor Spills
Stop work, and evacuate all personals.
Absorbent paper and label with “Caution Radiation Material.”
Transfer to radiation waste.
Survey (continue to clean until no counts are detected using Geiger counter).
Survey body (clothing, shoes, gloves etc.).
Report to radiation safety officer (RSO).
(NRC 10 CFR Part 35.3045)
Definition: An event takes place upon administration of wrong dose (not within ±20 % of prescribed dose; some states or institutions require ±10 % with therapeutic agents); wrong radiotracer, wrong route of administration, wrong patient, wrong treatment, and leaking seal source.
Reportable event: Administration resulting in whole-body exposure of >0.05 Sv (5 rem) effective dose equivalent or 0.5 Sv (50 rem) to an organ or tissue and skin. Must be reported by telephone call within 24 h and notified in writing within 15 days.
Recordable event: Administration resulting in whole-body exposure of <0.05 Sv (5 rem) effective dose equivalent and 0.5 Sv (50 rem) to an organ or tissue and skin.
Package Safety and Unpacking
Must unpack radioactive shipments within 3 h of receipt.
Survey surface with Geiger–Muller counter.
Wipe test 100 cm2 of box surface.
Remove vial containing the radiopharmaceutical.
White I <0.5 mrem/h at 1 m.
Yellow II < 50 mrem/h at surface.
<1 mrem/h at 1 m.
Yellow III < 200 mrem/h at surface.
<10 mrem/h at 1 m.
I-131 and Ga-67 – For I-131, complete cessation of breast-feeding for this child.
Avoid Ga-67 scan on a breast-feeding patient due to high breast radiation dose.
I-123 (cyclotron produced therefore not contaminated with I-124): Pump and dump for 48 h.
Tl-201: Pump and dump for 96 h.
Tc-99m: Pump and dump for 12 h (Tc-99m pertechnetate, 4 h only).
Code of Federal Regulations Title 10 Part 35 at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part035
*Nuclear Medicine: The requisites 4th edition By Harvey A Ziessman MD
2 Radionuclide Decay
Radionuclide decay graph
Radionuclide decay scheme. EC electron capture, IT isomeric transition (originated from the nucleus)
Radionuclide decay table
g-ray E (Kev)
122 (85.6 %)
91 (3.6 %)
185 (23.5 %)
300 (4.4 %)
394 (4.4 %)
172 (89.6 %)
247 (94 %)
159 (83.0 %)
35 (7 %)
364 (81.8 %)
740 (13.6 %)
778 (4.7 %)
776 (15 %) – prompt gamma
103 (28 %)
Mercury X-ray 69–80
81 (36.6 %)
Decay of uranium-235
3 Flash Facts: Radiation Biology
R = roentgen = gamma- or X-ray radiation in air (not tissue).
REM = Roentgen equivalent man = normalized radiation dose in a tissue to account for biological effects.
1 g-ray = 1 J/kg tissue (absorbed) = 100 rad.
Q = radiation type weighting factors; photons, electrons, betas, and positrons, Q = 1; protons > 2 MeV, Q = 5; neutrons, Q = 5–10; alpha particles, Q = 20.
W = organ tissue weighting factors summed over all exposed organs to compute an REM or effective dose in sievert
Cell Cycle Sensitivity
S < G1 < G2 < M.
Oxygen-Enhancing Ratio (OER)
Enhancing of radiation damage by adding O2 to the matrix.
Lethal dose required to kill 50 % of population in 30 day. Humans’ lethal dose is measured in 60 days. LD 50/60 = 3–5 Gy for human.
Probability that radiation will cause damage = dose dependent
Describe cause and effect relationships between radiation and damage. Have a threshold below which has no side effect. Once threshold is crossed, diseases will develop (2 Gy to eye = cataract).