Skip to content


Study: Traces of radioactive contamination found in homes of six Hanford workers via The Seattle Times

The levels are low, but if some microparticles are inhaled or ingested by nuclear-site workers or their families, the radioactive dust is a “potential source of internal radiation exposure,” the study’s author writes.

Dust samples from the homes of six Hanford nuclear-site workers in the Tri-City area contained traces of radioactive contamination, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science.

The levels are low, but if some microparticles are inhaled or ingested by the workers or their families, the radioactive dust is a “potential source of internal radiation exposure,” writes Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer whose peer-reviewed study also found radioactive particles in dust samples in nuclear workers’ homes near the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the former Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado.

The particles were found in samples collected over a period of years from the homes of the nuclear workers and those of their neighbors. Inhalation of the particles, which included uranium, thorium, plutonium and americium, can increase the risk of cancer.

[…]

“These radioactive particles are tiny and difficult to detect once you get a few inches away,” said Kaltofen, who is affiliated with Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. “But once inside the body, the distance from our tissue is essentially zero.”

Kaltofen said his research indicates that some other homes likely have low levels of radioactive contamination, and he recommended more testing.

[…]

“A special population”

Kaltofen obtained many of these samples through a yearslong collaborative effort with Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based organization that focuses on accountability in the federal cleanup of decades of plutonium production for atomic bombs at the 562-square-mile federal site near Richland.

[…]

Kaltofen, through the course of his study, found three of the highest levels of thorium radioactivity in the dust of three Hanford workers’ homes. Two of these dust samples were collected from older homes built in Richland for Hanford workers during the 1940s.

The third home was a newer suburban house outside the Tri-City areas owned by a Hanford employee who worked at a tank farm that stores radioactive and chemical wastes.

Read more at Study: Traces of radioactive contamination found in homes of six Hanford workers 

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , , , , .


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.