36 Radioactive Materials Safety Manual Environmental Health and Safety • Holding pens and cages should be designed and positioned in a manner which will minimize contamination, allow for the collection of radioactive urine and feces, and facilitate cleaning. Procedures, Practices, and Rules for the Safe Use of Radioactive Materials In general, both internal and external exposures to ionizing radiation can be maintained ALARA through the adherence to a number of standard procedures, practices and rules. These include: • RAM must be protected from unauthorized removal or access at all times. • Eating or drinking is not permitted in radionuclide laboratories. • Food, drink, tobacco products, gum, medications, or cosmetics are not allowed in areas where radioactive materials are used or stored. • Pipetting by mouth is not permitted in radionuclide laboratories. • Microwave ovens in radionuclide laboratories must not be used for heating food or beverages. • Individuals who have not been approved for radionuclide use must neither work with nor handle RAM. • Security of RAM, sources, samples and waste must be maintained at all times to prevent unauthorized removal or tampering. • “Caution-Radioactive Material” signage must be conspicuously posted at each entrance of a radionuclide laboratory. • Locations within the laboratory where radionuclides are used or stored (hoods, refrigerators, microwave ovens, etc.) must also be labeled indicating the presence of radioactive material. • A “Radiation Safety” posting including emergency procedures and a State of Iowa “Notice to Employees” must be posted. • Radionuclide work areas must be clearly designated and should, to the extent possible, be isolated from the rest of the laboratory. The work area must be within a hood if the RAM to be used is in a volatile form. • All work surfaces must be covered with absorbent paper, which should be changed regularly to prevent the build-up of contamination. Work involving relatively large volumes or activities of liquid RAM should be performed in a spill tray lined with absorbent paper. • Procedures involving RAM should be well-planned and, whenever possible, practiced in advance using non-RAM. • Protective clothing appropriate for the work conditions must be worn when working with RAM. This includes laboratory coats, Note: Contamination surveys keep RAM from going home with you!