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Use of historical uranium air sampling data to estimate worker exposure potential to airborne radioactive particulate in a uranium processing facility.
Methner-MM; Feng-HA; Utterback-DF
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2001 Dec; 16(12):1150-1157
Historical industrial hygiene monitoring records from a uranium processing plant were collected and analyzed to characterize exposure potential to airborne radioactive particulate. More than 2,100 samples were collected during the period of 1954-1968. The data was organized by job title, plant number, and year of measurement. Laboratory analysis of air samples indicated a wide range of potential exposures to the alpha-emitting particulate. Logarithmic transformation of the data was necessary to approximate Gaussian distributions. Geometric Mean (GM) values were used as the measure of central tendency within years. GM values ranged from 23-49 disintegrations per minute per cubic meter of air sampled (dpm/m3) with the years 1963 and 1964 being significantly higher than other years (ANOVA: p < 0.05). When comparing exposure potential across plants, GM ranged from 20-68 dpm/m3, with plants 5 and 8 being significantly higher than the others (ANOVA: p < 0.05). Exposure potential for specific job titles across the plants varied widely. GM for clerks was the lowest (11 dpm/m3) while furnace operators were the highest (235 dpm/m3). Other job titles with potentially high exposures were chemical operators, forklift operators, machine operators, and furnace operators. This analysis indicates the magnitude and distributions of worker exposure to alpha-emitting airborne particulate. Additional analysis and epidemiologic studies are planned for this facility.
Monitoring-systems; Airborne-particles; Alpha-emitters; Worker-health; Work-environment; Workplace-monitoring; Uranium-compounds; Occupational-exposure; Radioactive-dusts
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division