Fetal Risk

Fetal risk due to occupational radiation exposure at the University of Colorado is extremely low. In fact, the only likely fetal exposure is from either deep, penetrating radiations such as strong gamma or x-rays or from ingestion of radioactive material. Neither of these scenarios is likely.

Fetal Dosimetry

However, federal and state law allows pregnant women who work with or around radiation to become “Declared Pregnant Workers” by completing a form and submitting it to the Radiation Safety unit. This declaration is completely voluntary and private. If you would like to declare yourself pregnant, please complete the Fetal Dosimeter Application. For the duration of your pregnancy, your whole body dosimeter will be used to measure any deep dose radiation exposure you may receive and this dose will be assigned to your fetus.

Under federal law, the maximum occupational radiation dose that a fetus can receive is 500 mrem during the entire pregnancy (compared to 5,000 mrem/year a non-pregnant worker is allowed to receive from occupational sources). If you choose to not declare your pregnancy, the occupational limit remains at 5 rem/year.

Using a Second Dosimeter

In most cases, because you can wear your whole body badge anywhere on the torso between the neck and the waist, you may choose to only have one dosimeter for privacy reasons. However, you can denote on the fetal dosimeter application that you would like a second dosimeter to wear over the stomach while continuing to wear your whole body dosimeter over the chest. This is your choice, and can always be adjusted during the gestational period.

During the time a worker is “declared pregnant,” dosimeters will be changed on a monthly basis instead of every two months and the mother will receive periodic updates regarding the dose measured by her dosimeter(s).