PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Handling radioactive materials. Laboratory worker handling radioactive materials. International radiation hazard symbols (triangle, black and yellow) warn of the dangers involved. The worker is wearing a finger glove (finger stall) dosimeter inside his normal gloves (purple). Later analysis of the dosimeter (or dose meter) will reveal the amount of radiation to which the worker was exposed. Here, the worker is using 32-P, a radioactive isotope of phosphorus that emits beta radiation and has a half-life of 14 days. It is used primarily as a radioactive tracer in genetics to analyse DNA and RNA samples. Because phosphorus is readily incorporated into human bones and DNA, care must be taken when handling 32-P. Photographed in the UK.
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