APPENDIX 1D Safe Use of Radioisotopes

  1. Jill Meisenhelder,
  2. Kentaro Semba

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471143030.cba01ds00

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

How to Cite

Meisenhelder, J. and Semba, K. 2001. Safe Use of Radioisotopes. Current Protocols in Cell Biology. 00:1D:A.1D.1–A.1D.13.

Author Information

  1. The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: OCT 1998


The use of radioisotopes to label specific molecules in a defined way has greatly advanced the discovery and dissection of biochemical pathways. The development of methods to inexpensively synthesize such tagged biological compounds on an industrial scale has enabled them to be used routinely in laboratory protocols, including many detailed in this manual. Although most of these protocols involve the use of only microcurie (mCi) amounts of radioactivity, some (particularly those describing the metabolic labeling of proteins or nucleic acids within cells) require amounts on the order of millicuries (mCi). In all cases where radioisotopes are used, depending on the quantity and nature of the isotope, certain precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of the investigator. It is essential to use good safety practices and proper protection to handle radioactive substances. This unit discusses storage, handling, and disposal of 35S, 32P, 33P, and 125I.