[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In the mid-1940s, the United States began producing atomic weapon components at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). In an attempt to better understand historical exposure to nearby residents, this study evaluates plutonium activity in human tissue relative to residential location and length of time at residence. Data on plutonium activity in the lung, vertebrae, and liver of nearby residents were obtained during autopsies as a part of the Los Alamos Tissue Program. Participant residential histories and the distance from each residence to the primary plutonium processing buildings at LANL were evaluated in the analysis. Summary statistics, including Student t-tests and simple regressions, were calculated. Because the biological half-life of plutonium can vary significantly by organ, data were analyzed separately by tissue type (lung, liver, vertebrae). The ratios of plutonium activity (vertebrae:liver; liver:lung) were also analyzed in order to evaluate the importance of timing of exposure. Tissue data were available for 236 participants who lived in a total of 809 locations, of which 677 were verified postal addresses. Residents of Los Alamos were found to have higher plutonium activities in the lung than non-residents. Further, those who moved to Los Alamos before 1955 had higher lung activities than those who moved there later. These trends were not observed with the liver, vertebrae, or vertebrae:liver and liver:lung ratio data, however, and should be interpreted with caution. Although there are many limitations to this study, including the amount of available data and the analytical methods used to analyze the tissue, the overall results indicate that residence (defined as the year that the individual moved to Los Alamos) may have had a strong correlation to plutonium activity in human tissue. This study is the first to present the results of Los Alamos Autopsy Program in relation to residential status and location in Los Alamos.
Article · Oct 2012 · International journal of hygiene and environmental health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Workers handle catalysts extensively at petroleum refineries throughout the world each year; however, little information is available regarding the airborne concentrations and plausible exposures during this type of work. In this paper, we evaluated the airborne concentrations of 15 metals and total dust generated during solid catalyst loading and unloading operations at one of the largest petroleum refineries in the world using historical industrial hygiene samples collected between 1989 and 2006. The total dust and metals, which included aluminum, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, platinum, silicon, silver, vanadium, and zinc, were evaluated in relation to the handling of four different types of solid catalysts associated with three major types of catalytic processes. Consideration was given to the known components of the solid catalysts and any metals that were likely deposited onto them during use. A total of 180 analytical results were included in this analysis, representing 13 personal and 54 area samples. Of the long-term personal samples, airborne concentrations of metals ranged from <0.001 to 2.9mg/m(3), and, in all but one case, resulted in concentrations below the current U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Permissible Exposure Limits and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' Threshold Limit Values. The arithmetic mean total dust concentration resulting from long-term personal samples was 0.31mg/m(3). The data presented here are the most complete set of its kind in the open literature, and are useful for understanding the potential exposures during solid catalyst handling activities at this petroleum refinery and perhaps other modern refineries during the timeframe examined.
Article · Dec 2011 · International journal of hygiene and environmental health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: From 1999 through 2010, a team of scientists and engineers systematically reviewed approximately eight million classified and unclassified documents at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that describe historical off-site releases of radionuclides and chemicals in order to determine the extent to which a full-scale dose reconstruction for releases is warranted and/or feasible. As a part of this effort, a relative ranking of historical airborne and waterborne radionuclide releases from LANL was established using priority index (PI) values that were calculated from estimated annual quantities released and the maximum allowable effluent concentrations according to The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Chemical releases were ranked based on annual usage estimates and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) toxicity values. PI results for airborne radionuclides indicate that early plutonium operations were of most concern between 1948 and 1961, in 1967, and again from 1970 through 1973. Airborne releases of uranium were found to be of most interest for 1968, from 1974 through 1978, and again in 1996. Mixed fission products yielded the highest PI value for 1969. Mixed activation product releases yielded the highest PI values from 1979 to 1995. For waterborne releases, results indicate that plutonium is of most concern for all years evaluated with the exception of 1956 when (90)Sr yielded the highest PI value. The prioritization of chemical releases indicate that four of the top five ranked chemicals were organic solvents that were commonly used in chemical processing and for cleaning. Trichloroethylene ranked highest, indicating highest relative potential for health effects, for both cancer and non-cancer effects. Documents also indicate that beryllium was used in significant quantities, which could have lead to residential exposures exceeding established environmental and occupational exposure limits, and warrants further consideration. In part because of the close proximity of residents to LANL, further study of historical LANL releases and the potential impact to public health is recommended for those materials with the largest priority index values; namely, plutonium, uranium, and selected chemicals.
Article · Sep 2011 · Journal of Environmental Monitoring
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Lead is registered under the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) as both a carcinogen and a reproductive hazard. As part of the process to determine if consumer products satisfy Proposition 65 with respect to lead, various wipe sampling strategies have been utilized. Four commonly used wipe materials (cotton gauze, cotton balls, ashless filter paper, and Ghost Wipes) were tested for background lead levels. Ghost Wipe material was found to have 0.43 +/- 0.11 microg lead/sample (0.14 microg/wipe). Wipe testing for lead using Ghost Wipes may therefore result in measurable concentrations of lead, regardless of whether or not the consumer product actually contains leachable lead.
Article · Mar 2010 · Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology