Hazmat & Radiation

Hazardous substances pose a risk to both lab and other personnel who may contact the chemicals or animals during:

  • Preparation activities
  • Animal dosing
  • Husbandry activities
    • Cleaning cages
    • Changing and disposing of bedding

To protect the broad range of individuals with potential exposure, all hazardous substances must be identified in all relevant locations where animal research is conducted including:

  • Research labs
  • Animal housing
  • Cage wash
  • Locations where chemicals may be:
    • Stored
    • Prepared
    • Used (i.e. procedure rooms)

The Hazardous Waste Web page provides procedures for preparing biohazardous and radiological waste for disposal or collection.

Biological substances posing a risk to personnel include:

Biological SubstancesDefinition
Pathogenic AgentAny material known to harbor organisms or agents capable of infecting human or animal hosts or causing environmental harm if released.
Human Source MaterialAn agent known to be transmissible through contact with human blood, blood products, body fluids, tissue or cells.
Recombinant DNANucleic acid molecules formed by laboratory methods, to bring together genetic material from multiple sources, creating sequences that would not otherwise be found in the biological organism.
Select AgentsAny substance (viruses, bacterial, and toxins), with the potential of being used as bioweapons or posing significant risk to agriculture or public health.

For information on dealing with biological exposure risk from bloodborne pathogens, check out Bloodborne Pathogens: First Responder (DVD0045)

Chemical material, posing a risk to personnel, based on the following hazard classifications:

Occupational radiation exposure includes:

  • External exposure to ionizing radiation emitted by radioactive materials
  • External exposure from devices that produce x-rays or other forms of ionizing radiation (such as electrons or protons)
  • Internal exposure from inhaled, ingested, or absorbed radioactive materials

Color-Coded Cage Cards

To ensure the safe handling of animals containing radioactive material, color-coded cage cards are used to indicate the standardized protocol for animal care. The color-coded cards indicate to animal care takers coming in contact with caged animals as to the level of hazard they might encounter.  In order of increasing radiological risk, the color code used are as follows:

COLOR…REPRESENTS TO THE CARETAKERS…
GreenThe amount of radioactive material excreted is minimal and all waste and bedding can be treated as non-radioactive material.
YellowThat caution should be used because the animal and all waste and bedding are radioactive.
RedNot to proceed until they have contacted their ULAM Area Supervisor for further instruction.

For More Information

For more information about:

Training and Education

To register for the Radiation Safety Training for Animal Handler course, contact RSS at (734) 764-6200.

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