Office Building Radiation Levels

Does anyone know what the "acceptable range" of radiation is in an office building?  I checked the OSHA website and I couldn't find anything for a regular, non-industrial building. 

One of our employees had a meeting with a potential client who went around our office with a radiation meter and scared all of our employees.  I am trying to calm the panic by getting as much information as I can.  I notified the building management of our concern, and I am hoping they will check it out, but I could use some information and advice from all of you.



  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hey, why was the potential client so concerned that he measured the radiation in your building?  Are you near a nuclear plant, manufacturing plant, hospital, or other potential source of radiation or an area known for deposits of radon?


  • You could try the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) for background info on radiation.

    But - I think the "acceptable" levels depend on whether the radiation is ionizing or nonionizing. For info on both, see OSH site at and

  • Jake is right - take a look at OSH interpretation letter 02/26/2003 - Workplace exposure limits for ultra-violet radiation.[1910.97; 1910.1096]
     Question: Are there any OSHA regulations for workplace exposure limits to ultraviolet radiation?

    Response: OSHA has two standards that cover employee exposure to radiation: Nonionizing Radiation (29 CFR 1910.97) and Ionizing Radiation (29 CFR 1910.1096). You may access a copy of our radiation standards from our website at

    The non-ionizing radiation standard only covers the radio frequency region, including microwaves. The ionizing radiation standard covers alpha, beta, gamma, and X-rays; neutrons; high-speed electrons and protons; and other atomic particles; but does not include sound or radio waves, or visible, infrared, or ultraviolet light. Therefore, there are no OSHA-mandated employee exposure limits to ultraviolet radiation.

    OSHA does provide technical guidance regarding protecting employees from ultraviolet light with respect to laser hazards. You can find this guidance in the (OSHA Technical Manual (TED 1-0.15A, Section III - Chapter 6)) on our website. The relevant chapter includes information on control measures and safety programs for laser hazards associated with exposure to ultraviolet light. Your association members may find this guidance useful.

    Also, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), a non-governmental organization, has established allowable employee threshold limit recommendations (TLVs) for direct ocular and skin exposures to ultraviolet radiation. The values are published in the annual Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents & Biological Exposure Indices. If you need a copy of the suggested allowable exposure limits to UV, please contact ACGIH directly. You may access the ACGIH's website at or contact the organization at:

    1330 Kemper Meadow Drive
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45240-1634
    Telephone: (513) 742-2020



  • We're in midtown Manhattan and as far as I know not near any known nuclear power plants, manufacturing site, or hospital. Our building consists of law offices, sentaors offices, consulting firms, and other service-based companies.

    Thanks everyone for your input!  I really appreciate it.

  • There are a lot of kinds of energy sources that are called radiation.  The light from an incandescent bulk contains radiation.  Oh no, turn out the lights!  He could have been measuring the collective output of monitors in your building.  He could have been measuring the effect of the mobile phone tower on the roof of your building or the collective effect of all the crackberries in the office.  Who knows?   Also, the scale in which the measurement is made matters.  If I tell you that it sure seems hot in here because the temperature is 294 degrees, its really really important to understand if I'm speaking in Fahrenheit or Kelvin degrees.  In degrees F, it's only 70.
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