Answer to Question #12010 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Radiation Workers

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


Does American National Standards Institute/Health Physics Society (ANSI/HPS) N13.12-2013 apply to people leaving a nuclear facility who might be contaminated at a low level (essentially at or below detectable limits)? If so, should contaminated people be treated in exactly the same way as contaminated objects with respect to the provisions of this standard?


No, ANSI/HPS N13.12-2013 does not apply to people. As indicated in Section 1, Purpose and Scope, of the standard, the standard does not apply to the screening of humans that might be contaminated or contain radioactive material.

From the purpose section of the standard (emphasis added): "This standard is intended to provide guidance for protecting human health from radiation exposure by specifying a primary radiation dose criterion and derived screening levels for the clearance of items or materials that could contain radioactive materials, in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on clearance."

Furthermore, the scope section of the standard states: "The following are not included in the scope of this standard: . . . radioactive materials in or on persons, including 40K in the body . . ."

Kelly Classic
Certified Medical Health Physicist


Health Physics Society. Surface and volume radioactivity standards for clearance. McLean, VA: ANSI/HPS N13.12-2013; 2013.

Answer posted on 5 July 2017. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.