View Full Version : Radioactive Material Spread To Colorado, Kansas From N.M. Lab

08-04-2005, 10:31 AM

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- Investigators have determined that a Los Alamos National Laboratory worker exposed to radioactive material spread the contamination to homes in Colorado and Kansas while visiting family, according to a lab spokeswoman.

The employee was exposed to americium 241 -- a man-made metal -- while working at the northern New Mexico lab, and the contamination was detected on his skin and personal clothing July 25.

The employee's home in Los Alamos was decontaminated and items were removed from the homes in Colorado and Kansas and cleaned by U.S. Energy Department's Radiological Assistance Program.

The levels of americium 241 found at the homes pose no health hazard, lab spokeswoman Kathy DeLucas said Wednesday.

"The levels, of course, are very, very low," DeLucas said. "They are easily detected by our instruments, but they present no health hazard. We now believe that we have captured all material that has traveled off site."

It's unclear how and when the worker was exposed to americium, which is produced when plutonium atoms absorb neutrons in a nuclear reactor or during a nuclear explosion. The resulting metal is mostly used in household and industrial smoke detectors.

DeLucas said the employee was working with uranium pellets, not americium, when he was exposed. The employee's skin and personal clothing were contaminated.

The health of the exposed worker and five others working in the same room are being monitored, DeLucas said.

One other lab worker's home was also decontaminated, she said.

Rain Man
08-04-2005, 10:34 AM
In other news, I just discovered that I can bench press 1,200 pounds and see through walls.

08-04-2005, 10:35 AM
In other news, I just discovered that I can bench press 1,200 pounds and see through walls.

Can you play corner?

Rain Man
08-04-2005, 10:37 AM
Can you play corner?

Yes, but for some reason I can no longer move my neck.