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Open Source Training Modules


Open Source Radiation Safety Training

Module 6: Radiation Monitoring Badge Program


Overview of the Module

This module provides information about the following topics:

Purpose of Radiation Monitoring

At Princeton University, radiation monitor badges are provided to monitor occupational radiation exposure for those workers who use radiation sources under certain conditions.  Princeton University monitor badges should not be used to measure occupational doses received at any other institution or to measure doses from non-occupational sources such as medical x-rays.

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When Radiation Monitoring Badges Are Required

State regulations require that those persons who are likely to receive 10% or more of the Annual Radiation Dose Limits must be provided with radiation monitoring badges. This means that state regulations require monitoring for any person likely to receive a whole body dose of 500 millrem or more or a skin or hand dose of 5000 millirem or more. Additionally, New Jersey requires monitoring of finger exposures for persons working with analytical x-ray machines.

Under Princeton University requirements, you must wear radiation monitoring badges if:

  • You operate x-ray machines (including x-ray diffraction equipment and the Molecular Biology Department Faxitron cabinet x-ray system)
  • You are a Declared Pregnant Worker working in a lab where x-ray and gamma emitters or energetic beta emitters are used
  • If you use radioactive materials under the following conditions:
Open Sources
(and other beta emitters 
with energies > 250 keV)
Used in amounts of 5 mCi or more for extended operations.
Not required for simple aliquoting from a stock vial
I-125 and Cd-109
(and other x-ray or gamma emitters 
with energies < 100 keV)
Used in amounts of 1 mCi or more for extended operations. 
Not required for simple aliquoting from a stock vial
Cr-51, Co-57, Fe-59 and Zn-65
(and other x-ray or gamma emitters
with energies > 100 keV)
Used in amounts of 0.5 mCi or more for extended operations.
Not required for simple aliquoting from a stock vial
Sealed Sources
Co-60, Cs-137 and Ra-226
and other energetic beta/gamma emitters 
Used in amounts > 0.1 mCi

Examples of how the dosimetry criteria are applied

  • If your lab receives a 5 mCi vial of P-32 and you briefly handle the 5 mCi vial to withdraw an aliquot of 100 uCi, you are not required to wear monitoring badges.
  • If you order 5 mCi of P-32 and you perform a synthesis using the entire 5 mCi, you are required to wear monitoring badges.
Temporary Badges
Temporary badges are available for workers whose high-level radioisotope use is sporadic.  EHS maintains a large supply of temporary badges and can supply you with a temporary badge the same day that you request one.

More Information about Monitoring Badges
Additional information about monitoring badges and about using and wearing them is available in an optional Using and Wearing Monitoring Badges Module (you will not be tested on the information in the Using and Wearing Radiation Monitoring Badges page).

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When Radiation Monitoring Badges Are Not Issued

Monitoring badges are not routinely provided to workers who do not meet the criteria described in the Required Monitoring section.  For example, you will not be routinely provided with badges if:

  • You only use H-3, C-14, P-33 or S-35
  • You use P-32 in amounts less than 5 mCi
  • You use I-125 in amounts less than 1 mCi
If you have concerns about your radiation exposure and would like to be monitored even though you do not meet the Required Monitoring Badge criteria, you may either contact EHS directly or you may ask your Authorized User or your lab manager to request badges for you. 

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Dose History at Princeton University

In 2000 Princeton University implemented the radiation monitoring badge criteria described in the sections above.  Prior to the implementation of the current badging criteria and over the last 30 years, Princeton University provided radiation monitoring badges to many more workers than we currently do.  Prior to 2000, Princeton University provided monitoring badges to  about 600-800 people a year.  Typically, 90% of all monitored persons received no measurable dose.  The following table provides information about doses received during the years 1996-1999:

# of People Receiving 
Whole Body Doses > 50 mrem 
WB Dose
# of People Receiving
Skin/Hand Doses > 50 mrem 
Skin/Hand Dose
70 mrem
1880 mrem to hand*
90 mrem
3500 mrem to hand*
150 mrem
740 mrem to hand
< 50 mrem
59 mrem to skin
Note:  The doses marked with an *  were received by a single researcher performing frequent syntheses with 5-10 mCi of P-32 at a time with extended exposure to the entire 5-10 mCi.

During this period of time, no one received a dose high enough to require monitoring under federal or state regulations.

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Internal Monitoring

More detailed information about internal monitoring procedures is available in Section 6 of the Radiation Safety Manual for Laboratory Workers.  If you use radioactive materials under circumstances where there is a reasonable likelihood of taking up radioactive material internally, EHS will contact you to make arrangements to conduct bioassays.

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You've completed the last of the six Radiation Basics modules.  You may now go to the test or you may go to any of the previous modules:

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