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10. Animal work involving radiation


Where an experiment involves the administration of radionuclides to animals, the Permit Holder must provide Environmental Health & Safety with the following information at the planning stage:

  • a short description of the experiment and its estimated total duration;
  • nature and activity of the radionuclides and/or radiopharmaceuticals involved;
  • the method of administration, with information relating to metabolism and excretion that could be relevant to radiation safety and the disposal of radioactive waste.

In light of the information provided in the above paragraph, Environmental Health & Safety may recommended any or all of the following:

  • identification of the enclosures or cages with the radiation symbol, together with a warning label indicating the radionuclide, the activity and the date of administration;
  • wearing of protective clothing by personnel handling the animals. This usually means protection against radioactive contamination (gowns, gloves, etc.) rather than protection against external radiation;
  • use of external personal monitors (e.g. TLD badges) by staff handling the animals and/or participating in bioassay procedures (see Section 5.5.1);
  • limits on the duration of work in the vicinity of radioactive animals and/or shielding of cages or enclosures;
  • improvement of the ventilation in the rooms involved; and
  • disposal of animal carcasses as radioactive material (see paragraph 8.3.2).



Radiation sources other than radionuclides may be used in animal experiments, either for irradiation (see Sections 7.4 and 9.2) or for imaging (see Section 9.3). These procedures do not call for precautions specifically related to the fact that the object of the irradiation is a live animal. It should be noted that, unless the radiation is of very high energy (usually above 10 MeV), an irradiated animal is not radioactive and presents no radiation hazard once the radiation is switched off.