Eating & Drinking in Radioisotope Laboratories

Eating, drinking, or other similar activities (consuming medicines, applying cosmetic products, etc.) in rooms labeled as radioisotope use areas is not permitted except under the following conditions:

  • Any area in which eating and drinking occur must be designated as an Eating/Drinking Area. The Radiation Safety Committee must grant specific approval to an Authorized User to designate an area to be an Eating/Drinking Area. The Committee will take into account the nature of the radioisotope activities in the lab before approving an Eating/Drinking Area, e.g., a laboratory using Na125I may not be granted approval.
  • Laboratories in which use or storage of state-licensed radioactive materials occurs cannot contain spaces designated as Eating/Drinking Areas.
  • In general, there must be a minimum separation of 5 feet between any locations in which radioactive materials are used or stored and an Eating/Drinking Area. However, the Committee may allow smaller separations if the Committee determines that factors such as the presence of walls or other physical barriers or the nature of the radioactive source (e.g., a sealed source) will prevent contamination from readily spreading into the Eating/Drinking Area.
  • An Eating/Drinking Area must be designated with signage stating “Eating/Drinking Area - No radioactive materials are permitted within this area.”
  • Radioisotope work and storage areas must be designated with signage, tape, or other labeled barriers to indicate that radioactive materials are stored or used beyond this point.
  • Laboratory personnel must remove gloves and wash and survey hands after working with radioisotopes, and prior to entering an Eating/Drinking Area.
  • A waste receptacle must be provided within the Eating/Drinking Area and used only for non-laboratory trash.
  • If the layout of the lab is such that it is necessary to carry food or beverages to the Eating/Drinking Area by passing through the radioisotope use area, it is not permitted to eat or drink while passing through the radioisotope use area, and personnel carrying food or beverages must pass through the radioisotope area without lingering.
  • EHS shall conduct spot checks for contamination within and at the boundary of Eating/Drinking Areas as part of its routine laboratory surveys.
  • Permission for an Eating/Drinking Area within a laboratory will be revoked if EHS finds radioactive material or contamination within an Eating/Drinking Area or if violations of these requirements are observed.

Adopted June 2003 by the Radiation Safety Committee

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Stephen Elwood
Radiation Safety Officer