List of learning goals:
Contrast workplace exposures to environmental exposures.
1. Overview the main standards-setting bodies and key definitions such that the student can understand exposure limits
2. Overview health outcomes

1. Understand the uses and limitations of MSDS sheets

1.Learn why different types of monitoring are required for different hazards.
2. Learn the main classifications of monitoring instruments

In Module 1 we discussed the difference between "health" and "safety" issues. While "toxic wastes" usually refer to wastes that are health hazards, the term "hazardous wastes" includes both health hazards and safety hazards. Many are both. This module focuses on safety hazards. We will break this discussion into three areas: Fire, Process Safety, and Ventilation.
First and most importantly, PPE is a last resort. When confronted with a workplace hazard, there are three alternatives that must be considered in this order:
1. Eliminate the hazard via “engineering controls.”
2. Eliminate the exposure via “administrative controls."
3. Only after the above two have failed is PPE appropriate.
Learning Goals:
Be able to distinguish ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
Determine the most prevalent forms of non-ionizing radiation
Know the main types of ionizing radiation and how they are described
How health hazards are determined
Be able to describe workplace and environmental radiation standards
Learn about the main types of monitoring and their limitations.

**Q. One thing I found interesting is the fact that neutrons as a source of radiation can be so harmful.  I had known about alpha, beta, and gamma but did not understand the affects of neutrons.  This also leads to my question why are they so devastating.  I know gamma and beta can dangerous due to their small size and ability to penetrate deep into matter.  However neutrons are fairly big compared to gamma and beta radiation, and therefore I would not expect it to penetrate as deeply.  Alpha particles for example can be blocked with a piece of paper (but it is about 4 times as large).  Do neutrons just have higher energy than apha?
A. First, neutrons are neutral and will not be deflected by electric fields, so they will go much farther.  The energy is quite variable – all neutrons don’t have the same energy.  There are charts and tables listing the energy, depending on which element they came from. 

** Q. One thing that is still a little unclear to me is the nature of radiation.  One article claimed that JCO released fission products into the atmosphere due to ineffective filters.  What physical state are fission products present, i.e. vapor?  When something is “released to the atmosphere” I tend to associate it with the gas phase.  Furthermore, how do you filter radiation?  If certain types of ionizing radiation require 0.5” aluminum or 4” lead shields, hypothetically, wouldn’t the entire building need to be composed of some form of armor to contain a criticality incident, as unfeasible as it sounds? 
A. The fission products are the two smaller atoms the result from the fission of a larger atom, uranium in this case.  The smaller atoms are usually ionized, that is, have a formal charge.  Hence they are likely to stick to dust particles in the air that have an opposite charge or a portion of the particle that has such a charge.  These dust particles can then be filtered, either by a dust filter or by your upper respiratory tract – choose the filter.  Many of these smaller atoms are radioactive (see brief discussion on radon) and release alpha, beta, gamma, and/or neutrons.  Of course the original fission releases neutrons too.

** Q. My mother was asking me if military bases and military-owned land is not held to federal waste and clean-up regulations as privately owned industries.  She heard somewhere that there is a lot of contaminated land (radioactive and otherwise) that is not being cleaned.  (She was concerned because my house is across the river from land owned by Fort Wainwright).  I have not read any articles about this, but it is logical that the US Federal Government would not be as likely to penalize itself monetarily for neglecting to clean up contaminants.  I told her I would ask my instructor . . . .
A. Quite the opposite.  The federal government, EPA, absolutely delights in holding other government agencies, especially the military, to those standards.  Technically the federal government can exempt itself from state laws in general, but for the environmental laws, the statutes themselves require compliance and there are executive orders as well.  So the military is held to both federal EPA and state environmental laws.  They are fined if they do not comply.  But, remember CERCLA vs RCRA.  Most of the contamination is very old, a CERCLA issue.  They are not fined for the old contamination, per se, but must develop a plan for cleaning it up.  If the plan is accepted, they are “in compliance” even thought they have not actually cleaned up the mess.  A RCRA violation, on the other hand, would result in a fine. 

* Q. Do you know if short-term exposure to “blacklights” or fluorescent long-wave ultraviolet lights can be harmful to skin and eyes?  I have read conflicting articles, but have not found any articles of merit.  I was only curious if I were to be in blacklight for about 10 minutes (40W), running a test in a lab, or about an hour (40W x a room full of bulbs), playing putt-putt golf below Sadler’s, could I be affected.  I know it made my eyes feel really strange after playing golf for a while.  I think blacklights are generally in the Ultraviolet A category, containing wavelengths from 315-400nm.  This would permit a TLV of 1000mJ/cm2 in an eight hour period according to, but what does mJ/cm2 mean to me if bulbs are rated in wattages and wattages are Joules/second?
A. Wow.  You could do a fairly simple calculation if the bulb was a point source, and determine the maximum, but it’s not a point source and the radiation is not even, so let’s not go there.  The wavelength and characteristic you should be able to get from the type of light.  The wattage you read on the bulb is the power requirement of the bulb, not the energy output. There are meters you can buy or you can get an IH to come by and measure it.  You might try this cheap device: although I’m not recommending it .  This one looks better:  I’d have to give some though about how to convert mJ to watts, you should just divide by the time, 8hours, but there are many other issues there, as well.

* Q. Back to exposure levels and the discussion, do you think many companies refer to levels recommended by NIOSH and ACGIH?  Although I pay attention to these levels and ensure any results of my exposure are below, in general, the safety department at my company only cares about OSHA’s PELs and outwardly admits that these are the federal guidelines.  I have not worked for any other companies, so I do not have much for comparison.  I cannot imagine many huge companies trying to meet NIOSH and ACGIH levels, but do you think it is more common for smaller businesses or companies that deal with nastier things, such as radioactivity?
A. Companies that deal with radioactivity as part of their business are strictly regulated, by both state and federal agencies.  OSHA is involved too.  Most consultants are only intermittently exposed to contaminants, but they seldom know what they will be exposed to next month.  On the other hand, particular industries often know what chemicals they generate and can build a safety program around those chemicals.  Responsible industries have a safety department that is familiar with all the standards that apply to “their” chemicals. 

*Q. I have a house build in the late 80’s with an underground fuel tank.  What are the chances that it has failed?  Anyone studying tanks like these?  I know homeowners are exempt from many of the state laws but something must be coming down the pipeline, just too many tanks in the ground to ignore. I shut the furnace down in the summer, so I’m going to carefully track the level to ensure there is not a leak. 
A. You can find a major leak by your method.  Minor leaks are a different story.  We applied for a grant years ago to study this.  Many must be leaking. The exemption is strictly politics.  My company pioneered tank testing in Fairbanks in the 80’s.  I built my own tester and tried it out at home.  Mine wasn’t leaking then, but that was 20 years ago.  The big problem with testing is that changes in the temperature of the oil will result in changes in the volume much larger than a leak, and temperatures change constantly..  How I would do it today is different.  See links on tracers.  You do a calibration test of the area.  Drive pipes in the ground near the tanks and draw soil gas into a vacuum tank.  Have Sandy Kimbrell do a GC analysis of the gas. Then put a Freon liquid, just a small amount, into the tank and close the tank.  Then repeat the soil gas in a week or so and see if the Freon is in the gas. 

*Q. Are the acceptable limits for radon in existing and new construction enforced by a regulatory agency?  Or do they just recommend acceptable levels and expect the contractor or owner to implement remediation if it is needed?
A. There are no federal or Alaska laws on that.  Some states do have such laws.