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Office of Research Services

Serving the NIH Community


Environmental Exposure Monitoring

​​The Division of Radiation Safety​ implements operational policies and procedures to keep radiation doses to radiation workers, NIH staff, and the general public as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA​). ​In compliance with NRC 10 Code of Federal Regulations 20.1101, DRS is responsible for ensuring that radioactive materials at the NIH are used in a manner that is safe for the environment and the communities in which we have the privilege to do our work.  


​Environmental Radiation

Environmental radiation is defined by DRS as any exposure of radiation or radioactive material to individuals on or near the NIH campus as a result of NIH research. This could include exposure to nearby individuals through laboratory walls or ceilings; to maintenance workers who may be exposed to airborne radioactive material in exhaust ductwork; or to neighboring communities if airborne radioactive material is vented to the outside atmosphere. DRS is responsible for monitoring and controlling potentially harmful levels of radiation through engineering controls and safe work practices. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) maintains specific requirements for the use and storage of radioactive materials to protect the general public, radiation workers, and the environment from unnecessary exposure.

Regulatory Compliance

​DRS monitors environmental radiation exposures through the routine deployment of environmental dosimeters and the strategic placement of charcoal and silica gel air monitors in high-risk locations such as ductwork and breathing zones. Utilizing a robust system of assays, DRS takes a proactive and scientifically rigorous approach to ensure the NIH community and general public remains safe and free from the potential hazards of environmental radiation exposure.​​​​​