Carbon-14 is a low-energy beta emitter (about 10 times more energetic than tritium). C-14 is not
easily detected with a hand-held survey instrument such as a thin-window G-M (the efficiency is
~ 10%). Monitoring is normally performed by taking a swipe of the area and counting the swipe
in a liquid scintillation counter.
Maximum energy: 0.156 MeV (the average energy is 0.052 MeV).
2. Maximum range in air: 9 inches (24 cm).
3. IAEA toxicity classification: Medium-low.
4. Physical half-life: 5,730 years.
Effective half-life (Teff): 12 days.
Critical organ: Whole body and the body fat.
7. Personnel monitoring: Bioassay - urinalysis and/or breath measurements (CO2), NOT
detected with a dosimeter (thermoluminescent dosimeter or film).
2 mCi (7 x 107 Bq) -labeled organic compounds by inhalation or ingestion.
2 Ci (7 x 1010 Bq) CO by inhalation.
200 mCi (7 x 109 Bq) CO2 by inhalation.
9. Shielding: 3mm of plexiglass (if needed) - thicker plexiglass may be used for rigidity.
10. Special Considerations:
Detection of C-14 by radiation survey instruments requires special care due to the
low efficiency of detection.
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