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Re: Pregnant policies in Europe?

At 13:00 1996-07-08 -0500, you wrote:
>Is there anyone out there that would know what the dose limits are for
>pregnant personnel in European countries, and are they allowed to continue
>working with radioactive materials? I have a pregnant lady here that is
>telling me one thing about policies in Sweden and Western Europe and I am
>curious about this.
>I would appreciate any input on this!
>Diane Griffiths
>Assistant Radiation Safety Officer
>Baylor College of Medicine
>Houston, Texas

Dear Diane,

Probably you have followed the discussion on radsafe about female
participants in some course, who had to sign a paper that they would have to
drop out in case they would become pregnant during the course. I was very
tempted to write a contribution, mentioning the regulations in my home
country Austria and expressing my non-understanding of the US regulations.
But since I might already have a bad reputation at radsafe of always telling
you Americans how much everything is better in Europe, I refrained from any
comment. Your question gives me a good excuse to tell you Americans, how
much it is better in Europe...

Speaking about Austria - I donīt know about regulations in other European
countries, but I suppose that regulations might be similar: Any woman, who
gets to know that she is pregnant has to inform her employer immediately
about this fact. Whatever she is working with, she cannot be fired from this
very moment and she will receive her full salary. Please donīt ask me about
details of how many weeks before birth of the child she  h a s   to stay at
home and for how many weeks after birth she has the right to stay at home at
full salary and how many months or years she will have a part of salary or
no salary. This is simply because my children are at the age of 18, 16 and
15 and I forgot about it. After this time she can return to work and during
a certain time cannot be fired. As soon it is known that she is pregnant she
is not allowed to work in areas where she might receive a dose allowed for a
radiation worker. If the employer cannot find another job for her with a
risk for a dose allowed for the public she would be entitled to stay at home
at full salary. 

The European Union is in the stage of preparing a new radiation protection
ordinance and it seems that the protection given by the Austrian legislation
might not be the same in the new ordinance. Austria has to adopt the
regulations of the EU since we are a member of the EU since 1 and 1/2 years. 

So far my information. My personal thought is that protection of unborn
children should not be only the question of the parents opinions. The ALARA
principle should be applied especially to unborn children, not only in the
case of radiation - and I assure you that the Austrian economy does not
break down because of these regulations. I would not expect the US economy
to break down either. Not the employer, but the society should protect

I am neither catholic nor anti-abortion under any circumstances. But I think
that women should give birth to children without anxiety and under financial
problems because of loosing their job and their payment. The world does not
break down if an employer looses some dollars.....

I am not afraid of radiation either - next Monday I will fly to Mururoa to
assess the radiological situation with my team. By the way: do you Americans
know what "Mururoa" is? It is the place where the French did their nuclear
tests - with several orders of magnitude less in yield than the Americans
did in the Marshall islands.

Ok, now I have told you Americans about our European paradise - I am ready
for your comments!!!!

Best wishes,  
Franz Schoenhofer
Federal Institute for Food Control and Research
Department of Radiochemistry and Radioactivity in Food
Vienna, Austria
Habichergasse 31/7
A-1160 Wien
Tel./Fax:	+43-1-4955308
Tel.:		+43-664-3380333
e-mail:		schoenho@via.at