MU lab suspended from using radioactive material - KMOV.com

MU lab suspended from using radioactive material

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A lab at the University of Missouri-Columbia has been temporarily suspended from using radioactive material after a researcher inadvertently spread radioactive material on the soles of his shoes.

The Columbia Missourian, citing a report from the school's director of Environmental Health and Safety, also reported that a university committee will review the lab's radioactive material privileges in February.

Frank Schmidt, a professor of biochemistry who heads the lab, told the Missourian that he had no comment about the report, which he had not yet seen.

The report said that Schmidt will be responsible for buying a foot monitoring system and sticky "step-off" pads that will be placed near the lab exit to prevent future contamination, and the lab will be monitored more frequently. Also, the unidentified researcher who spread the contamination will have fewer responsibilities when working with radioactive material to reduce the possibility of distraction.

The Missourian reported that the researcher contacted Environmental Health and Safety last month when he noticed that the soles of his shoes had come into contact with a commonly used radioactive isotope referred to as P-32.

An investigation showed that the radioactive material had been spread to several hallways and some stairwells in Schlundt Annex, Schlundt Hall, the Chemistry Building, Schweitzer Hall and a number of sidewalks connecting the buildings. Contamination was also found outside Schlundt Annex.

An Environmental Health and Safety team cleaned or removed affected areas when possible and used "encapsulation techniques," such as covering contaminated spots on the sidewalk with epoxy.

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.digmo.org

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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