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MONTE CARLO ASSESSMENT OF THE FINGER SHALLOW DOSE FROM DIRECT CONTACT WITH A MICROCENTRIFUGE TUBE CONTAINING COMMON BIOTECHNOLOGY ISOTOPES IN SOLUTION

Cutright, Dan*; Medich, David*; Ring, Joseph

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31823faea5
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Eppendorf tubes often are used in biomedical research labs and contain radioactive tracers. Although the associated direct contact finger doses are typically small, it is suggested (and in line with the principle of ALARA) to handle these tubes from the cap of the tube. When containing radioactive material, handling a tube near the bottom conical section would unnecessarily increase the skin dose to the fingers. This investigation modeled a 2.0-mL Eppendorf tube containing various individual beta emitting isotopes commonly used in a biomedical research environment (i.e., 14C, 3H, 131I, 32P, and 35S) to determine the skin dose when directly handling the tube at the cap end and when handling it at the bottom conical section. The primary goal of this paper is to assess how significantly this dose is altered by handling geometry. The skin dose to a single finger was calculated with Monte Carlo simulations using MCNP5 and determined at a depth of 0.007 cm in water averaged over 10 cm2 as described in 10CFR20. Results show that the dose rate may vary by as much as a factor of 700 depending on handling geometry.

*University of Massachusetts, Lowell; †Harvard University.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

For correspondence contact: Dan Cutright, Dade Moeller and Associates, One Acton Place, Suite 201, Acton, MA 01720, or email at dan.cutright@moellerinc.com.

(Manuscript accepted 31 October 2011)

©2012Health Physics Society