Skip to main content

14.1 Where Ionizing Radiation is Used

Small amounts of radioactive material are used and stored in hundreds of laboratory rooms around the campus. Some of the material is contained in small sealed capsules. Examples of these “sealed sources” include test sources for radiation detectors and ionization detectors in gas chromatographs. Most often radioactive material is found in small vials of radioactively labeled chemicals in solution. These labeled chemicals are widely used in research and in veterinary medicine. With very few exceptions, only very small amounts of radioactive material are used and levels of radiation exposure are quite low.

Ionizing radiation can also be produced by certain electrical equipment, including X-ray machines and particle accelerators. There are approximately one hundred pieces of radiation producing equipment on the campus. Radiation levels produced by this equipment are also very low because of shielding.

You can tell if a room contains a source of ionizing radiation because each entrance is plainly marked by warning labels. Within the room, additional labels and warning tape will be found on each piece of radiation producing equipment and on all areas used to work with or store radioactive material.