From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] C&EN SafetyZone blog: 'OopsÕ is never good occupational health policy
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 19:15:55 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8D1F2A6141BD197-1B54-40B55**At_Symbol_Here**

In the 60s in the University of Wisconsin Art Department we were still taught to lip point brushes for calligraphy and lettering assignments.  Clearly the inks were not radioactive, but some metal pigments and many organic pigments were used.  In calligraphy, Nigrosin was a common colorant.  And the Aldrich SDS reveals that there is absolutely no acute or chronic data on the chemical whatever.  So guess who the lab rats are.
Just as "oops" is not a good safety health policy, neither is "no news is good news."
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: Ralph Stuart <rstuartcih**At_Symbol_Here**ME.COM>
Sent: Tue, Dec 30, 2014 8:26 am
Subject: [DCHAS-L] C&EN SafetyZone blog: 'Oops' is never good occupational health policy  "=E2=80=98Oops' is never good occupational health policy" by Jyllian Kemsley  The headline is from Deborah Blum, author of "The Poisoner's Handbook," as  quoted in an NPR story about Mae Keane. Keane was briefly one of the "Radium  Girls" who painted glow-in-the-dark wristwatches in the 1920s. Here's a bit more  context, plus the full quote:  In order to get the numbers small enough, new hires were taught to do something  called "lip pointing." After painting each number [with radium paint], they were  to put the tip of the paintbrush between their lips to sharpen it.  Twelve numbers per watch, upwards of 200 watches per day - and with every digit,  the girls swallowed a little bit of radium.  "Of course, no one thought it was dangerous in these first couple of years,"  explains Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook.  ...  Deborah Blum says the radium girls had a profound impact on workplace  regulations. By the time World War II came around, the federal government had  set basic safety limits for handling radiation.  And, she says, there are still lessons to be learned about how we protect people  who work with new, untested substances.  "We really don't want our factory workers to be the guinea pigs for discovery.  'Oops' is never good occupational health policy."  Searching C&EN archives, it seems that it took a while for people to embrace  those basic radiation safety limits. From a 1951 story from the American  Industrial Hygiene Association's 12th annual meeting:  Unsafe working conditions were found in the handling of radium, x-ray, and  fluoroscopic equipment in every one of 12 hospitals surveyed recently, William  LaRocque, of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., told a mixed group of scientists  and medical specialists at this meeting. In some cases, he said, radiation in  excess of maximum permissable doses was detected in hospital offices as well as  in laboratories and operating rooms.  LaRocque found physicians handling radium sources with virtually no protection  whatever. Between uses radium was stored in everything from water glasses to tin  cans. Because of the value of the radium it was often stored in office safes  which afforded little resistance to the radiation. Some dental x-ray equipment  surveyed irradiated the operator to a maximum permissable dose after as few as  five exposures had been made. Fluoroscopes and diagnostic x-ray apparatus were  often inadequately shielded or were used in a dangerous manner. In one case  reported, the lead glass on a fluoroscope screen had not been replaced although  it had been cracked "for years."  Contrary to experience reported by earlier investigators, LaRocque said that the  medical men and roetgenologists involved seemed anxious to learn about these  hazards and to take steps to correct the dangerous conditions. LaRocque  attributed the situation to ignorance rather than lethargy. He said that in none  of these cases had there ever been any planned system of health protection in  connection with radiation hazards and he made a strong plea to the assembled  industrial hygienists to take positive steps to overcome the present complacency  about these hazards.  Jyllian Kemsley | December 30, 2014 at 8:30 am | 

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