Safety Precautions When Being Around Radioactive Substances

Handling Radioactive Materials

  • Reduce the time of contact with radioactive materials to a minimum.
  • Solid sources are most easily handled. They should be manipulated remotely. Example: Using tongs or in a glove-box.
  • Any ingestion of radioactive material should be avoided. For example, radioactive particles lodged in lungs are much more dangerous and harmful than if they were outside the body.
  • Radiation workers are given protective clothing and regular tests to monitor the dosage they receive.
  • Limit the amount of radiation received from X-rays equipment.


  • The penetrating powers of the different types of radiation gives a clue to safe practice. Pure alpha particles present little hazard when enclosed in a container; however since most alpha sources also emit gamma radiation, lead-lined containers are needed.
  • In general, keep all radioactive materials in lead containers when not in use.


  • Radioactive waste products must be quickly and safely disposed of. They can be encased in concrete and sealed in steel tanks and then buried underground.


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