Knowledge Library - FAQs - Radiation Detection Company
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Knowledge Library

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!

 

Having been in the dosimetry business 70 years, RDC has learned a lot about dosimeters and wants to share our knowledge.  We provided answers to the top 70 questions we are asked. We’ve organized them in an easy to find and understand format; however, if you need more information, please do give us a call at 1-800-250-3314, or drop us an email at customercare@radetco.com, and we’ll be happy to educate.

Accreditation

NVLAP Accreditation
RDC is accredited to provide dosimetry services with the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) which is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NVLAP Lab Code 100512-0.

ISO 9001:2015 Certification
Radiation Detection Company is registered to International Standard ISO 9001:2015. The ISO 9001 quality standard is the most widely recognized and established quality management system framework in the world. ISO 9001 establishes a framework for RDC to exceed customer expectations and ensure customer satisfaction.

Licensing
RDC is licensed by the State of Texas, Department of State Health Services for dosimeter testing and collection/analysis of leak test (swipe) samples.

The mission of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Radiation Control Program is to protect and promote the physical and environmental health of the people of Texas. They strive to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure to the public through effective licensing, registration, inspection, enforcement, and emergency response.

Badges

Use the box provided by RDC in which the Sealed Source Wipe Test Analysis kit was shipped.  When returning swab samples, place contents inside the box in a manner that will avoid damages during shipping.

RDC’s customers are best served when we understand the sources around which you work.  A completed Radiation Source Sheet helps us determine the accurate response of our dosimeters.  An improperly exposed badge can be more easily identified and errors can corrected by making minor adjustments that ensure the most accurate dose readings possible.

Radiation Source Sheets are also used to calculate dose from our ring dosimeters.  A ring dosimeter contains one phosphor, unlike our typical TLD badge, which contains four separate phosphors and filtration that can discriminate different energies.  This makes it impossible to automatically determine what type of radiation a ring has been exposed and this discrimination of energies is what determines the type of radiation to which the badge has been exposed.   

During the setup of your account, a review of your sources allows us to set the type of radiation the ring will be exposed to. This insures the proper correction values are applied during the calculation process. While we can report dose from our ring dosimeters without the proper correction factors, the readings may not be as accurate.

If you lose a badge, you will need to notify RDC and order a replacement badge. Your account will be charged $20 for each lost badge. If the badge is found and returned within 60 days of the end of the most recent wear period, a $15 credit will be issued to your account.

RDC offers monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly exchange frequencies.

Commitment to the Industry At RDC, we pride ourselves in our longevity and our commitment to service. In business since the dawn of the industry, RDC understands the threats ionizing radiation pose in the workplace, and how important your service is to you and your employees. In-house experts are available during our business hours to assist in an un-biased, knowledgeable manner. We are accredited to NVLAP (Lab Code 100512-0) and registered to ISO 9001:2015.

Commitment to Our Customers RDC is privately owned with many employees who have been with us for over 20 years. The people working on your account are familiar with the technology, familiar with the industry and most importantly, familiar with you. We have intentionally well staffed customer care and sales departments so that when you call us, you can get a real person instead of a phone tree. We value our customers and wish to see them treated as we would want to be treated.

Here’s what you can expect from RDC:
-Access to RDC’s free online management tool “MyRadCare”
-Ability to download reports / invoices
-Each badge can be color-coded and / or identified by department
-NO maintenance fees
-NO fees to add, delete or make changes to wearers
-NO fees to add multiple groups or to transfer wearers between groups
-NO fees for duplicate copies of reports when generated through MyRadCare
-NO fees for termination reports when generated through MyRadCare
-NO fees for NRC-5 forms when generated through MyRadCare
-NO fees for email notifications alerting customers to unreturned badges
-NO fees to make payments online

RDC will not charge you hidden fees or extra surcharges. When you receive a price from RDC, that is what you will see on your bill (provided you didn’t lose or damage a badge). Other provider’s in the marketplace often add in additional charges for these requests making your total cost of service much higher than advertised. So even with a low badge price, when you add in all the additional charges, RDC comes out the clear winner.

Commitment to Innovation Radiation Detection Company maintains state of the art lab facilities to ensure we can provide our customers with the highest quality of service. We have invested heavily in our online systems to provide our customers immediate electronic access to their records.

RDC also provides TLD & TASL systems to private labs, governmental agencies, and healthcare providers around the world. We are experts in the systems, lab implementations and maintenance.

No. RDC’s badges are meant for use by one individual at a time so that the dose associated with that badge is assigned to that one individual’s records. If multiple individuals use one badge, it is not possible to separate out what dose belongs to each individual therefore making the reading invalid for the intended user of the badge.

A Fetal badge should be worn directly over the Fetal area in order to receive the most accurate reading on my Dose Report.

If you are monitoring occupational dose to employees in a room where the source is located, or a room near a source that radiation could potentially reach, an Area Monitor should be placed at the highest exposure level where an employee may be working. Never place an Area Monitor on top of a source, or in a high radiation area that would not reflect occupational exposure.

It is the responsibility of the company to prove that the public is not being exposed to more than 100 mrem/year from outside a room/building. If you are monitoring potential exposure to the public, the Area Monitor should be placed on the outside of the room at the highest exposure level where employees/people are walking, sitting or may have access.

RDC’s badges do read below 10 mrem. We do not report dose below 10 mrem due to the potential of false results at these very low levels of exposure and the 10mrem threshold is the level required to be reported by the regulations governing this industry.

The control badge is used to monitor non-occupational energies that the personnel badge was exposed to. This includes background and other sources of radiation not a part of the workplace radiation exposure. The control badge should be stored in a location away from the radiation source at your facility. Break rooms or receptionist areas are good examples of areas that are typically appropriate.

DSN stands for “Dosimeter Serial Number” and is printed beneath the barcode on every dosimeter and ring used by RDC.  DSNs are not visible to the customer, but are scanned during assembly the assembly process, along with the DTNs, on their corresponding badge/ring labels.  DSNs indicate the completion of the build process and that a dosimeter/ring has been issued.

DTN stands for “Dosimeter Transaction Number” and is the seven digit, alphanumeric data printed on the front and back labels of each dosimeter.  On the ring label, it is the six digit numeric data printed above the barcode.  DTNs are unique for every dosimeter issued.

A thermoluminescent dosimeter, or TLD, is a type of radiation dosimeter. A TLD measures ionizing radiation exposure by measuring the amount of visible light emitted from a crystal in the detector when the crystal is heated. The amount of light emitted is dependent upon the radiation exposure.

This dosimeter provides real-time, instant information about radiation dose and dose rate.

Billing

RDC’s dosimetry services are provided on a subscription basis. Active and current subscribers will receive a shipment of personalized dosimeters each wear period.

When you sign up with RDC, you are signing up for our dosimetry subscription service.

Your fees include:
Use of our badges
User-friendly reports based on your desired reporting period
Access to MyRadCare (RDC’s online account management program)
Access to our live, highly trained Customer Care and Technical staff
No fees for set-up, additions, deletions, changes, multiple groups
Free control badge with each account

Yes, Standard RDC customers are eligible for a 5% discount for signing up for automatic renewal payments using a valid credit card.

Prepaid Accounts: Subscriptions for 20 badges or fewer per wear period must be prepaid. The terms of service for prepaid accounts require that a positive cash balance be maintained to insure continuous dosimetry service.

A funding replenishment invoice is generated when both of two conditions exist: (1) There are 90 days or fewer prior to the next scheduled badge wear date; and (2) The estimated pricing for those badges exceed the current cash balance.

Funding replenishment invoices estimate a 12-month period of service based upon the subscriber’s current service type, quantity, frequency and the RDC price list in effect at the time of the renewal estimate. Billing is based upon actual customer usage and the RDC price list in effect at the time of shipment. Ancillary charges (such as rush processing, expedited shipments or unreturned dosimeter fees) are in addition to annual estimates and will be deducted from prepaid accounts. Credit card payments are encouraged.

Shipments are not made to prepaid accounts with zero or negative cash balances.

Invoice Accounts: Subscriptions for 21 badges or more per wear period may be billed on a postpaid basis. Payment terms are NET 30 days. Credit card payments are encouraged.

Shipments are not made to accounts with unpaid balances greater than 60 days.

All accounts can be paid using credit card, check or ACH payments

Dose Reports

RDC’s customers are best served when we understand the sources around which you work.  A completed Radiation Source Sheet helps us determine the accurate response of our dosimeters.  An improperly exposed badge can be more easily identified and errors can corrected by making minor adjustments that ensure the most accurate dose readings possible.

Radiation Source Sheets are also used to calculate dose from our ring dosimeters.  A ring dosimeter contains one phosphor, unlike our typical TLD badge, which contains four separate phosphors and filtration that can discriminate different energies.  This makes it impossible to automatically determine what type of radiation a ring has been exposed and this discrimination of energies is what determines the type of radiation to which the badge has been exposed.   

During the setup of your account, a review of your sources allows us to set the type of radiation the ring will be exposed to. This insures the proper correction values are applied during the calculation process. While we can report dose from our ring dosimeters without the proper correction factors, the readings may not be as accurate.

Environmental Reports are designated for RDC’s type 82E and 83E environmental dosimeters. These reports are printed at the end of the regular reports and have the letter “E” at the end of the report number. There is currently no accreditation available for environmental dosimeters and our current NVLAP (Lab Code 100512-0) accreditation requires all non-accredited dosimeters to be reported on a separate page.

Yes! Please contact our Customer Care Department and we will gladly set you up to receive electronic copies of your reports through our online account management system.

Reports, paper or electronic, should be kept for as long as your company is in business.

With DoseCheck, an individual can log in using their Badge Number and PIN, and see their year-to-date and previous year’s dose. This feature is free of charge to our customers. This view is not an accredited format and does not qualify for audit purposes: it does, however, enable the user to continuously monitor their exposure whenever they want.

If the dose is affected at all, the dose will be lower because heat is used to detect/extract the energy from the badge.

Yes, any report containing results that are outside of acceptable limits will be reviewed and the customer will be notified immediately so that appropriate actions can be taken.

Badges are read by heating internal phosphors until the absorbed energy from ionizing radiation is released in the form of light. The light that is emitted is then converted into dose by a computer algorithm. An image of the light output is stored in our database as a glow curve. If any contaminant, such as oil or debris, has reached the phosphor, it will emit light, giving the glow curve an image that is not typical of ionizing radiation. When this happens, the reading is flagged on the Dose Report. While it is apparent that a badge has been exposed to a contaminant, it is impossible to determine how much of the light output is from the contamination, and how much is from ionizing radiation. The dose is reported based on the total emitted light, but is flagged on the Dose Report as an “estimate” due to the abnormal glow curve. This affords the customer the opportunity to evaluate a wearer’s history and provide an estimated dose if applicable.

Our badges do read below 10 mrem. We do not report dose below 10 mrem due to the potential of false results at these very low levels of exposure and the 10mrem threshold is the level required to be reported by the regulations governing this industry.

It is normal to receive dose on the control dosimeter. It represents the background and transit dose received on the badge from the time it left our facility and until it was returned. The dose recorded on a control dosimeter is usually low, and relatively constant from report to report. A control dosimeter will usually record a small dose (5 – 20 mrem per month).

RDC assigns PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) to identify wearers within an account. These PINs are unique to each individual. Dose information is reported and accumulated within the account based on these PINs. The PIN will still be listed on the report for each wearer. It also appears on every badge and ring we issue to the customer.

Lifetime dose may be added for a wearer when requested by the customer. It is the customer’s responsibility to provide the lifetime dose to RDC. That has always been the case. If there is any question on our end about a wearer’s identity, we will contact the customer for resolution prior to making any changes or reporting any dose.

The annual dose limits for radiation workers are as follows:
TEDE < 5000 mrem
TEDE or Total Effective Dose Equivalent is the sum of internal and external whole body doses

Returned badges are read and reports are mailed and available online within 10 business days of receipt of the badges.

If you are using RDC’s online account management program, an email will be sent to you when your reports are available for viewing, downloading, and printing.

If you are not using our online account management program, your dose reports will be mailed to you.

A measure of the cancer risk to a whole organism due to ionizing radiation delivered non-uniformly to part(s) of its body.

Equal absorbed doses of different types of ionizing radiation cause different amounts of damage to living tissue. Therefore, the equivalent dose was defined to give an approximate measure of the biological effect of radiation.

The absorbed dose describes the amount of energy that is absorbed by a unit of mass that is irradiated with some type of radiation of some magnitude.

Rem is a unit used to measure the amount of radiation that results in the same amount of human tissue damage caused by one roentgen of radiation.

Rad is a unit of measurement for the amount of a radiation absorbed in matter.

The millirem (mrem) is one thousandth of a rem. A rem is a large dose of radiation, so millirem (mrem) is often used for the dosages commonly experienced, such as the amount of radiation received from medical x-rays and background sources.

The NRC requires that its licensees limit maximum radiation exposure to individual members of the public to 100 mrem (1mSv) per year, and limit occupational radiation exposure to adults working with radioactive material to 5,000 mrem (50 mSv) per year.

The external exposure of the lens of the eye and is taken as the dose equivalent at a tissue depth of 0.3 centimeter (300 mg <2>).

A limb of a person or animal, or the part of a limb that is farthest from the body, especially somebody’s hand or foot.

The internal and external dose of ionizing radiation received by workers in the course of employment.

Dosimetry

Yes, it is perfectly safe for a breastfeeding mother to perform, or receive any kind of X-ray procedure. X-ray radiation can kill living cells, but this does not affect the milk, nor does it expose the baby to any type of radiation. An x-ray machine only presents a hazard when it is energized, once the machine is turned off, a human being will not store, or emit ionizing radiation.

Licensees who use sealed sources must have the source tested periodically for leakage. The wipe of a sealed source must be performed using a leak test kit. The sample must be analyzed for radioactive contamination. The analysis must be performed by a person approved by the NRC or an Agreement State.

The science concerned with the recognition, evaluation, and control of health hazards to permit the safe use and application of ionizing radiation.

Minors working near or with radioactive materials must be monitored. The annual occupational dose limits for minors are 10 percent of the annual dose limits specified for adult workers, which is 500 mrem in one year or 42 mrem per month.  The customer is responsible for monitoring the dose for minors on a monthly frequency to ensure dose does not exceed 42 mrem per month.

If there is a malfunction in your equipment and you have discontinued monitoring for radiation exposure, you may never know that your health and/or the health of your employees were compromised. Continuous monitoring for radiation exposure not only allows you to protect the health of you and your employees, but it also helps you to protect your business from liability should a lawsuit be filed by an employee who claims they received excessive radiation while under your employment.

Responsibility for damage caused by exposure to radiation in the work place is most often assigned to the employer. Employers utilizing sources of radiation in their business are required by the NRC to have a license permitting safe use of their source. Exposure to hazardous radiation is governed by laws that are designed to protect employees through safe handling and use of radioactive sources. Radiation damage experienced by employees is often an indication of failing to abide by these laws which leaves the employer exposed to legal liability for the damage caused. Developing and implementing a radiation safety program which includes documented occupational dose monitoring will assist employers in limiting their exposure to liability in the workplace.

Yes. Digital x-ray machines do not require film, but still produce the same risk of exposure as any other x-ray machine.

Every employee monitored is a beneficiary as they work with peace of mind knowing that their health is not at risk.

Every company owner is a beneficiary as documented occupational dose monitoring provides protection against current and future legal employee health claims so long as the owner is able to show documented evidence that his/her employees did not exceed their occupational dose limits during their term of employment. This is why records should be kept for the lifetime of the business.

Providing workers with individual personal radiation dosimeters is about more than meeting regulations. It gives both worker and employer peace of mind knowing that radiation exposure is constantly being monitored with a fully accredited dosimeter.

RDC uses the Panasonic UD-802 dosimeter (for photons and beta radiation and PN-3 for neutron monitoring). This dosimeter has been the dosimeter of choice in the critical nuclear power environment since the 1980’s and is a well-known and very capable dosimeter.

With four individual detectors and filters, the badge design allows excellent photon discrimination. The use of the relatively tissue-equivalent lithium borate phosphor, means that the detectors require small correction factors, resulting in more precise, less error prone results than most other dosimeters.

We also offer finger ring dosimeters comprising a single element dosimeter contained in a waterproof, soft comfortable plastic (PVC) pouch on an adjustable plastic strap, adjustable from size 6 to 14. The finger ring is recommended for clients whose extremities are exposed to X-ray beams or who directly handle radioactive materials.

A thermoluminescent dosimeter, or TLD, is a type of radiation dosimeter. A TLD measures ionizing radiation exposure by measuring the amount of visible light emitted from a crystal in the detector when the crystal is heated. The amount of light emitted is dependent upon the radiation exposure.

A passive dosimeter absorbs radiation over time and can quantify the absorbed dose when it is processed or “read”.

ALARA in an acronym for “As Low As is Reasonably Achievable”.  According to the NRC Regulations Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, ALARA means making every reasonable effort to maintain exposures to radiation as far below the dose limits in this part as is practical consistent with the purpose for which the licensed activity is undertaken, taking into account the state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to benefits to the public health and safety, and other societal and socioeconomic considerations, and in relation to utilization of nuclear energy and licensed materials in the public interest.

All employees who may receive 500 mrem in one year must be badged. In addition, all declared pregnant workers must be monitored.

While the Panasonic 802 dosimeter that we utilize for gamma, beta, and x-ray radiation exposure does give a neutron signature, we do not report neutron readings from this dosimeter. Instead, we offer the same dosimeter with the addition of a track-etch element. This dosimeter type is referred to as an 83 badge.

The track-etch element is essentially a small piece of plastic that becomes pitted by neutron radiation as it passes through the badge. These pits are expanded using an etching process and counted under a microscope with an automated reader. This process is typically more accurate than using thermoluminescent dosimeters for neutron dosimetry.

Moisture or density gauges, containing americium-241, is mixed with beryllium to produce neutrons. It is the thermalization of these neutrons that provides an estimate of moisture or density.

Due to the high kinetic energy of neutrons, this radiation is considered to be the most severe and dangerous type of radiation. It is very important to have the right type of dosimeter when working with neutron radiation.

Dosimetry is an accurate and systematic measurement of the absorbed dose in matter and tissue resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation.

Radiation Detection Company measures radiation exposure using thermoluminescent dosimeters. These dosimeters contain four separate phosphors. The badges are read with control values that are subtracted from the personnel badges. An algorithm then selects the correct energy the badge was exposed to in order to apply the appropriate dose.

When the thermoluminescent phosphors within the dosimeter are heated, the previously absorbed energy from the ionizing radiation is released in the form of light. We can accurately measure the light output with a device called a photo-multiplier tube. The signal from the photo-multiplier tube is then used to calculate the dose that the material had absorbed.

The type of radiation each badge is exposed to is determined through energy discrimination from filtration between the source and the phosphor material. As the radiation passes through the filters, some of the energy is shielded. Using the ratio response of the four phosphors, we can determine your proper dose.

All of our dosimeters contain either lithium fluoride, or lithium borate phosphors. Unlike aluminum oxide, these phosphors are considered tissue equivalent. This means we can accurately determine your dose using phosphors that respond to radiation almost exactly the way the tissue in your body does.

Ionizing Radiation

RDC’s customers are best served when we understand the sources around which you work.  A completed Radiation Source Sheet helps us determine the accurate response of our dosimeters.  An improperly exposed badge can be more easily identified and errors can corrected by making minor adjustments that ensure the most accurate dose readings possible.

Radiation Source Sheets are also used to calculate dose from our ring dosimeters.  A ring dosimeter contains one phosphor, unlike our typical TLD badge, which contains four separate phosphors and filtration that can discriminate different energies.  This makes it impossible to automatically determine what type of radiation a ring has been exposed and this discrimination of energies is what determines the type of radiation to which the badge has been exposed.   

During the setup of your account, a review of your sources allows us to set the type of radiation the ring will be exposed to. This insures the proper correction values are applied during the calculation process. While we can report dose from our ring dosimeters without the proper correction factors, the readings may not be as accurate.

The internal and external dose of ionizing radiation received by workers in the course of employment.

Licensees who use sealed sources must have the source tested periodically for leakage. The wipe of a sealed source must be performed using a leak test kit. The sample must be analyzed for radioactive contamination. The analysis must be performed by a person approved by the NRC or an Agreement State.

Contact RDC customer care for quotes on swipe test kits.

Ionizing radiation can be monitored using film, thermoluminescent dosimeters, or electronic devices.

Radiation Detection Company measures radiation exposure using thermoluminescent dosimeters. These dosimeters contain four separate phosphors. The badges are read with control values that are subtracted from the personnel badges. An algorithm then selects the correct energy the badge was exposed to in order to apply the appropriate dose.

Ionizing radiation has enough energy to damage the DNA in a cell. Exposure to this type of radiation can be very destructive to living tissue, and can result in mutation, radiation sickness, cancer, and death.

Ionizing radiation is both naturally occurring as well as man-made. The primary source of natural background radiation is radon. Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is the product of the decay of uranium and thorium. Exposure to high concentrations of radon has been linked to lung cancer. Ionizing radiation can also be found naturally in rocks, soil, and in cosmic rays from our solar system.

Man-made forms of ionizing radiation come from medical sources such as diagnostic x-rays and nuclear medicine treatments. It also comes from consumer product sources such as building materials, televisions, smoke detectors, combustible fuels, and tobacco. The nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear weapons testing, and nuclear reactor accidents also cause a level of exposure.

Alpha particles consist of two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle identical to a helium nucleus. They are a highly ionizing form of particle radiation, and have low penetration depth so they can be blocked with a single sheet of paper. Alpha particles pose a serious threat when ingested, but not when encountered externally.

Beta particles are high-energy, high-speed electrons or positrons. When passing through matter, a beta particle is decelerated by electromagnetic interactions and may give off bremsstrahlung x-rays. Because of this, beta particles are best shielded with low-density materials like acrylic plastic.

Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation of high frequency and therefore high energy. They have no mass, and no charge. Gamma rays are identical to x-rays, except that an x-ray originates from orbital electron rearrangements, while gamma rays originate from the nucleus of an atom during decay. Gamma and x-rays are best shielded with lead, or other dense materials.

Neutron particles are slightly larger than protons. Due to the high kinetic energy of neutrons, this radiation is considered to be the most severe and dangerous radiation to the whole body when exposed to external radiation sources. Neutrons readily pass through most material, but interact enough to cause biological damage. The most effective shielding materials when dealing with Neutron radiation are water, polyethylene, or paraffin wax.

Ionizing radiation is high-energy radiation capable of producing ionization in substances through which it passes.

MyRadCare

It’s free to RDC’s active customers. Your dosimetry account is about keeping your people safe. We’re happy to help you do that.

You’ll find links to access MyRadCare in the navigation bar.  Or just click here.

If you’re new to MyRadCare, use the Register link. You’ll need your account number to register. Find that number on a dosimetry report or on an invoice.

Take Care Of Your Badge Service

– Add, delete, or change wearers
– Schedule orders for new wearers
– View the last three orders shipped
– View when badges are issued and returned
– Track badge issue and return dates
– Order replacements for lost or damaged badges

Access Dose Data

– View and print dose reports
– Create NRC Form 5 reports quickly and easily

Manage Your Accounting Activity Online

– Track your account balance
– View, pay, and print invoices

Stay On Top Of Everything

Receive email notifications of:
– Invoices and reports
– Badge shipments
– Unreturned badges
– Set up additional email recipients for notifications
– Track Shipments

MyRadCare is RDC’s online account management software program. It is available free of charge to all active RDC customers. It provides RDC customers a safe and convenient tool to manage their dosimetry account at any time, from any computer with access to the Internet.

With MyRadCare online access customers can:
View and print dose reports on demand
Create NRC Form 5 Reports in minutes
Add, delete and change wearers
Schedule orders for new wearers
Order replacements for lost or damaged badges
View, pay and print invoices
Receive email notification of shipments, late badges, invoices and published reports
View when badges are issued and returned
Track Shipments