How to Clean Up Minor Radioactive Contamination
December 9, 2011 1:30:26 PM PST
Minor spills (microcurie amounts in a single room) can result in contamination of the floor, lab surfaces, equipment, and personnel. Learn how to limit the spread of contamination and decontaminate the area when a minor spill occurs.
- Call for assistance under any of these conditions:
Emergency response numbers:
- Millicurie amounts in 1 room
- Microcurie amounts in more than 1 room
- Lab staff believes that assistance is required
- Weekdays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.:
- Environment, Health & Safety, (858) 534-3660
- Medical Center Safety Office, (619) 543-7575
- After business hours and on weekends:
- Campus Police: (858) 534-4357
- Medical Center Security: 6-1-1-1
- Stop the spill. Place absorbent paper or material on the spill to limit the spread of contamination.
- Warn others. Monitor personnel before they leave; have personnel change clothes or laboratory coats as necessary.
- Isolate the area. Mark or block off the contaminated area with warning signs or labels.
- Minimize personnel exposure.
- Wear double gloves, lab coats, shoe covers, other protective equipment, and dosimetry.
- Decontaminate with normal cleaning or commercial decontamination agents.
- Using paper towels with the decontamination agent, scrub from the outermost edges of the contaminated areas and work inward.
- Put all contaminated objects and cleaning materials into containers to prevent the spread of contamination.
- Request a hazardous waste collection.
- Perform a direct meter survey.
- After decontaminating the hot spots, perform a wipe test.
- Decontaminate hot spots to counts that are not statically different than background using a survey meter.
- Document all surveys and wipe tests performed. Keep the liquid scintillation counter printout and corresponding map in the lab survey book.
Notice: Refer to the Radiation Safety Manual (PDF) (Word file) for a detailed description of UCSD's
radiation safety program.