Radioactive substances: When planning an experiment that involves the use of radioactivity, consider the physico-chemical properties of the isotope (half-life, emission type, and energy), the chemical form of the radioactivity, its radioactive concentration (specific activity), total amount, and its chemical concentration. Order and use only as much as needed. Always wear appropriate gloves, lab coat, and safety goggles when handling radioactive material. X-rays and gamma rays are electromagnetic waves of very short wavelengths either generated by technical devices or emitted by radioactive materials. They might be emitted isotropically from the source or may be focused into a beam. Their potential dangers depend on the time period of exposure, the intensity experienced, and the wavelengths used. Be aware that appropriate shielding is usually made of lead or other similar material. The thickness of the shielding is determined by the energy(s) of the X-rays or gamma rays. Consult the local safety office for further guidance in the appropriate use and disposal of radioactive materials. Always monitor thoroughly after using radioisotopes. A convenient calculator to perform routine radioactivity calculations can be found at: http://www.graphpad.com/calculators/radcalc.cfm.
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