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Radioactive contamination? - (Oct/06/2010 )

I think I'm being a little radiophobic right now, but I wanted to get your opinion on something:

The other day the radiation officer changed our radiation badges and as she did so, she brushed up against my sleeve with her hand. For some reason I got it into my mind that her hand could possibly be contaminated with radiation (perhaps from a badge that had something spilled on it) and I ended up washing off my sleeve twice at work. I also used a Geiger counter to check myself and my bench to make sure there was no contamination--there wasn't any, but I forgot to check the place where she touched me. Do you think there's anything to worry about? I figure if there were any contamination the radiation badges would come back crazy-positive, but since I don't really know anything about it, I figured I should ask...


I don't think you really need to worry about the radiation officer. These people are highly trained and aware of how to handle and work with radiation safely. You are correct that if a badge gets radiation spilled on it, it will come back with extremely high readings. I worry much more about the other people in my lab working with radiation and their competence. Many times I find contamination of the bench and pipettes after a certain person in my lab has done anything with radiation. You have a better chance of getting exposed to radiation contamination by these people than the safety officer.


I agree, you don't have to worry about it. You used the Geiger counter to check and was ok, so.... and don't worry for the place she touched, she knew what to do sure.
ALways use the geiger!


So I know I shouldn't be too worried about it, but I still haven't washed my shirt--if I did have something radioactive on my shirt and I washed it through the machine, should all of my clothes come back with detectable levels of radiation/would I be able to tell if there were something nasty on me?