The University of Iowa

Radionuclide Safety Guideline for P-32

Physical Data

  • Radiation: Beta (100% abundance)
  • Energy: Max: 1,710 keV; Average: 695 keV


  • Physical: 14.29 days
  • Biological: Bone ~ 1155 days; Whole Body ~ 257 days
  • Effective: 14.29 days


  • 610 cm air unshielded

External, Skin & Eye Hazard

  • Routine handling of > 1 mCi quantities of P-32 can present an external exposure hazard to the skin and eyes.

Internal Hazard

  • Critical Organ: Bone (soluble); Lung (Inhalation); GI Tract (Ingestion - insoluble compounds)


  • Can deliver a contact dose to basal skin cells and eye lens of about 9,200 mrem/hour  per 1 mCi per 1 cm2

Safety Guidelines

  • Plexiglas 1 cm thick is recommended as shielding material.
  • Whole body and ring dosimeters are required when routinely working with more than 1 mCi of P-32.
  • Wear a lab coat and disposable gloves when working with P-32. Change gloves frequently.
  • Avoid direct eye contact - work behind a Plexiglas shield or wear safety glasses.
  • Use remote handling tools when manipulation unshielded sources greater than 1 mCi.
  • Always have a portable survey meter present and turned on when handling P32. 

updated 1/2013