Most of us go through the day unaware that lurking above our heads or hallways may be devices that are radioactive. At the end of their life cycle, do these become items hazardous wastes for disposal? Which ones pose a health hazard to us? As taxpayers, we want to be able to look to the feds for our safety. While our government is supposed to authorize the safe levels of radioactive emissions from such devices, it seems the feds do not widely advertise the proper method of disposal of these same hazardous wastes.
Radiation is all around us. In the sun’s ray, at the airport, on the cell phone, near the microwave. We heard as kids that too much of anything can’t be good, and that applies to various levels of radio waves. The big three that we train on in the environmental services field are X-rays, Gamma rays, and Beta rays. Some rays can be protected against by something as simple as paper, and some need dozens of feet of dirt and concrete, or lead sheet. However, too much radioactive dosage at one time for a specific ray can cause acute or chronic burns to organs, genetic mutation, and possibly even a private invite to the Pearly Gates themselves! custom trailer axles
While most homeowners in New England are aware today of the presence of Radon Gas that is emitted from the granite with which their cellar foundations are made, many are not aware that granite emits a bit of radioactivity as well. A property manager or homeowner would be wise to install Radon Gas detectors that can be purchased at any hardware store for the protection of the inhabitants. While Radon Gas is dangerous over a period of time, open ventilation is a simple enough way to rid the facility of any gas buildup. However, for radioactivity, a Geiger counter is required to check for levels of radioactive isotopes. Thankfully, over a long period federal and state oversight, there has not been sufficient evidence to show dangerous levels of radioactivity in most common granite buildings, and so we have not been focusing on that type of threat. In New England, many of the courthouses and public historic buildings were constructed of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire granite. Jokingly, we citizens thought maybe it was the radiation that was causing poor fiscal decisions at the Capitol, but sadly, no!
Radiation comes in many forms, and while the word is scary and carries visions of disfigured war victims, or some B-rate horror movie, we do not have to worry a great deal about the devices sold-over-the-counter at the local hardware store. Although a walk into a functional laboratory may reveal heavy radioactive isotopes used in experiments, most us will not ever encounter radioactive dosages to the extent of harming us. If we were to encounter such levels, it would be in a guarded setting and training would be mandatory by certified instructors. Medical doctors would be assigned to assess your exposure and detection devices would be issued for you to wear. These “badges” or “pens” would be read daily and your dosages would be accumulated and assessed. If you received more than was safe, you would be prevented access to the radioactive area again for a period of time specified by a Medical Doctor. In this setting, the corporation or public facility where you work is liable for your training, awareness, and safety.