Ignoring Contaminants

Sandia fails to protect workers from contaminant exposure

We all know, or at least guess, that there are a lot of dangerous materials at Sandia. There are at any laboratory.

And we probably all expect that there are various safety procedures in place to protect Sandia employees and the rest of us in central New Mexico from those dangerous materials and contaminants, right?

But an enforcement letter from DOE suggests that Sandia is frequently lax in handling dangerous materials. The materials mentioned in the letter include beryllium, styrene, and lead. The implication is that there are others as well.

According to Wikipedia,

  • Beryllium requires the use of appropriate dust control equipment and industrial controls at all times because of the toxicity of inhaled beryllium-containing dusts that can cause a chronic life-threatening allergic disease in some people called berylliosis.
  • Styrene is regarded as a “hazardous chemical”, especially in case of eye contact, but also in case of skin contact, of ingestion and of inhalation.
  • If ingested or inhaled, lead and its compounds are poisonous to animals and humans. Lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates both in soft tissues and the bones, damaging the nervous system and causing brain disorders.

Feeling safer now?

The details can be found at http://energy.gov/ea/downloads/enforcement-letter-sandia-corporation-wel-2012-01.


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