The Radiochemistry unit performs analyses to determine radioactivity primarily in water and soil, but also has performed analyses of air, food, milk, urine and foliage. Radionuclides can be harmful to human health if inhaled or ingested. They are commonly found in low concentrations in the Earth's geology, but are also artificially produced by nuclear reactors.

The Hygienic Laboratory's Radiochemistry staff is part of Iowa's Radiological Emergency Response Team. This group provides field monitoring and technical consultation to the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in the unlikely event of an act of terrorism or an accident at one of the four nuclear power plants in or near Iowa. The laboratory can evaluate the extent to which radioactive materials have been released from an incident.

FY13 achievements: