Internal contamination occurs when radioactive material enters the body through the nostrils, mouth, or skin. Some types of radioactive material tend to linger in the body and are deposited in different body organs. Other types of radioactivity are excreted from the body in the form of blood, sweat, urine, or faeces.
Testing of specimens such as urine samples and nasal swabs are typical applications of Hidex Liquid Scintillation Counters to analyse potential internal contamination. The measurement of tritium or H-3 in urine is mandatory in certain nuclear facilities, whereas the measurement of Carbon-14 from urine is vital in research facilities where metabolic substances such as pharmaceuticals or agrochemicals are labelled and studied. Additionally, nasal swabs for alpha emitters are used in accident preparedness when there is a high risk of airborne alpha particles.
Wipe Test to Detect Contamination
A license is required to be able to handle radionuclides. This license requires regular safety reporting of contamination monitoring. In addition, keeping the workplace free of radioactive contamination is an essential component of quality program. Verification that the workplace is clean is an essential component of good practice. Routine wipe tests are utilised to check working surfaces for contamination that might end up on an individual’s hands, clothes or food.
Radioactivity in laboratories
When it comes to radioactive contamination control, everyday operations of a radionuclide laboratory can be regulated by national and/or international rules and requirements.
Wipe testing areas where radiopharmaceuticals are prepared, administered or stored is required by regulations, for example, in US code of federal regulations (10CFR35) and must be performed at least on a weekly basis.
In many cases a direct measurement of surface contamination is not possible due to:
rugged and non - flat surface
incorrect result due to activity within the sample
incorrect result due to a source next to the sample
a surface contamination
Wipe test contamination surveys are a necessary means of demonstrating compliance with DOT and IATA package contamination limits and license commitments such as weekly contamination surveys where unsealed forms of radioactive materials are prepared or in use.
For instance, U.S. regulatory guidance includes model procedures that suggest surface contamination trigger levels for removable contamination in restricted areas (for alpha contamination guidance USNRC 2008).
In addition, there are regulations on the transport of dangerous goods on the external surfaces of regulated packages containing radioactive material removable alpha contamination (i.e., 49CRF173.443).
Also there can be requirement of labelled packages to be monitored for contamination upon receipt to demonstrate compliance with the limits for alpha/bet/gamma contamination referenced from the transportation regulations. The transportation package contamination limits are further complicated by a wipe removal efficiency of 0.1 (Frame and Abelquist 1999).
In these cases, and in addition in any waste measurement, wipe tests are very efficient and practice oriented. When performing removable contamination tests whether as source leak tests, laboratory work-surface contamination determinations, or to satisfy shipping regulations, it is important for the analysis to provide a realistic value.
With the Hidex AMG automatic gamma counter software and wipe test application, the user can define the limits for passed or failed surface gamma contamination tests, thus making the follow-up of the limits faster, easier, and more straightforward for the user.
With Hidex liquid scintillation counters, wipe test for tritium and carbon-14 can be performed. Also, certain surface contamination of alpha emitters can be performed with LSC and alpha/beta separation. Hidex instruments provide a comprehensive solution for all your surface contamination wipe test needs.
For effective radiation protection, Hidex instruments provide a comprehensive toolkit for wipe testing needs, from tritium and carbon-14 measurements to surface contamination assessments of alpha emitters. The user-friendly Hidex AMG and Hidex 300SL software allows efficiency, and ensures accurate analysis.