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Scientist Collects Hanford Dust

Anna King
05/22/2008

A Massachusetts scientist is spending this week standing on Tri–Cities area toilets and peering under refrigerators. An Indian tribe and a Hanford watchdog group hired him to analyze dust. They want to know if lowly dust can tell us whether Mid–Columbia residents have been exposed to radioactive contamination from Hanford. Richland Correspondent Anna King shadowed the scientist on one of his dust collecting missions.

TRANSCRIPT

MARCO KALTOFEN SHOWED UP AT OUR STUDIO ON THE WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS IN RICHLAND. NEARLY THE FIRST THING HE ASKED ME IS....

KALTOFEN: "Where's the men's room?"

LAUGH. WELL. I THINK THE MEN'S ROOM IS RIGHT HERE.

KALTOFEN: "Very good. Well let's all go."

TO THE MEN'S ROOM?

KALTOFEN: "Yeah."

OK....

TURNS OUT THE MEN'S ROOM IS ONE OF KALTOFEN'S FAVORITE HAUNTS TO FIND GOOD QUANTITIES OF DUST.

KALTOFEN: "This is where people come from directly outside. They might have partly contaminated gear. They are washing their hands. They are trying to get rid of all the stuff you don't want on you when you are about to eat your lunch. That's why this is the perfect place to go sampling."

KALTOFEN COLLECTED DUST FROM AN AIR VENT ON THE CEILING ABOVE A MEN'S ROOM STALL. THE DUST ANALYSIS IS BEING FUNDED BY THE YAKAMA NATION AND A HANFORD WATCHDOG GROUP CALLED HANFORD CHALLENGE. THEY HOPE THE RESULTS OF THIS STUDY WILL TELL THEM WHAT TYPES OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION ARE LURKING IN HOMES AND BUSINESSES. THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SAMPLES WATER, SOIL, AIR, PLANTS AND ANIMALS FOR RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION BOTH ON HANFORD SITE AND IN THE COMMUNITY. OFFICIALS THERE SAY THEY HAVE NEVER FOUND RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION ABOVE ACCEPTABLE LIMITS OFF THE SITE. THE TEST RESULTS FROM THE WATCHDOG DUST SAMPLING SHOULD BE AVAILABLE IN LATE FALL.

I'M ANNA KING REPORTING FROM A MEN'S BATHROOM IN RICHLAND, WASHINGTON.

© Copyright 2008, NWPR

04.24.14

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