Spillages and Decontamination

Any activity in the wrong place is a spill and must be dealt with immediately. The spilt material should be wiped up with a swab of tissues, which are placed in the appropriate waste receptacles. The area is then decontaminated. Try the following decontamination materials in the following order: (a) distilled water, (b) water and detergent (decon 90), (c) a solution of EDTA, and (d) a+b+c+ion-exchange medium (fullers earth).

Decontamination of 3H, 14C, and 32P should not be considered complete until a swab or tissue wiped over 100 cm2 of the contaminated area gives <1500 dpm when added to 10 cm3 of scintillation fluid in a vial.

When contamination occurs on clothing, the clothing should be removed as quickly as possible and washed by normal laundry procedures. A solution of EDTA is useful in difficult cases.

Contaminated skin should be brushed for a long time with soap and warm water using a soft brush. If this is unsuccessful try titanium paste or EDTA soap. Skin decontamination should never be continued to the extent of damaging the skin.

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