Help | Contact Us
NukeWorker.com
NukeWorker Menu Formaldehyde in Primary Containment

Author Topic: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment  (Read 10238 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« on: Oct 23, 2007, 01:25 »
Have you ever made a power entry and noticed your eyes watering (or those of your co-workers)? This could be due to exposure to formaldehyde. Perhaps you didn't recognize that pungent odor without the preserved frogs from high school biology, but the impact should feel the same.

Formaldehyde is the simplest aldehyde; it is the 25th most common chemical in the US per EPA estimates. It is present in adhesives and the binder in particle board. It is also a common breakdown product of more complex organic compounds (such as RCP lubricating oil, snubber oil, and ethylene glycol) at elevated temperatures. Highly volatile compounds (such as KROIL) used during outage maintenance can also break down after the plant is back online.

But the industry has not documented any experience with detecting low levels of formaldehyde and tracking down the culprit. I need some sources of technical expertise or at least sources for the equipment to allow us to find the source of our current problem prior to the spring outage.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Offline RDTroja

  • Site Heretic
  • Gold Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3942
  • Total likes: 163
  • Karma: 4553
  • Gender: Male
  • I knew I got into IT for a reason!
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #1 on: Oct 23, 2007, 02:49 »
I know the smell all too well. "Back in the day" when I worked for Hittman Nuclear (over 30 years ago) we used Urea-Formaldehyde (the binder in the particle board) to solidify liquid radwaste...if you lower the pH enough it turns into a rock. Imagine the offspring of molasses and Elmer's Glue and you get an estimate of its consistancy. If you spilled it on the floor all you could do to clean the considerable mess was sprinkle some acid on it and chip it up. Nasty, nasty stuff. I had heard it was banned from use in particle board due to potentially dangerous fumes seeping out. Made me feel really good. But so far I haven't suffered any ell iffects... er, ill effects. Then again, maybe it explains a lot.

I have no idea of the actual toxicity, but I would love to know.
« Last Edit: Oct 23, 2007, 02:52 by RDTroja »
"I won't eat anything that has intelligent life, but I'd gladly eat a network executive or a politician."

                                  -Marty Feldman

"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
                                  -Ronald Reagan

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

                                  - Voltaire

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #2 on: Oct 23, 2007, 03:53 »
I have no idea of the actual toxicity, but I would love to know.

Per our friends in the government, it is a presumed carcinogen.
Apparently 0.3 ppm will make most people's eyes water, but some are especially sensitive and can tear up even below 1/10th that level.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Offline MrHazmat

  • Principal Hazardous Material Specialist - DOE
  • Moderate User
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 136
  • Gender: Male
  • DragRacing Ain't Nothing Like It!!!!!!
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #3 on: Oct 23, 2007, 04:07 »
I know the smell all too well. "Back in the day" when I worked for Hittman Nuclear (over 30 years ago) we used Urea-Formaldehyde (the binder in the particle board) to solidify liquid radwaste...if you lower the pH enough it turns into a rock.

In 1974 when I started at Chem-Nuclear they were testing all kinds of different materials to solidify water also. They were in the same area as our break room and no door to close. We all went outside if possible. Man I miss the good old days, but as you I have no ............................. ............................. ............................. ............................. ............................. ............................. ............................. ...

What was I talking about????????? :D
Keeping our highways safe for over 40 years

alphadude

  • Guest
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #4 on: Oct 23, 2007, 06:30 »
have u used a sorbent to sample and determine if it is formaldehyde?  Ozone may also cause some problems similar to what you are talking about.

(the following is all net suff so no big mystery)

What are the Major Sources?

1. Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation: During the 1970s, many homeowners installed this insulation to save energy. Many of these homes had high levels of formaldehyde soon afterwards. Sale of urea-formaldehyde foam insulation has largely stopped. Formaldehyde released from this product decreases rapidly after the first few months and reaches background levels in a few years. Therefore, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation installed 5 to 10 years ago is unlikely to still release formaldehyde.

2. Durable-press fabrics, draperies and coated paper products: In the early 1960s, there were several reports of allergic reactions to formaldehyde from durable-press fabrics and coated paper products. Such reports have declined in recent years as industry has taken steps to reduce formaldehyde levels. Draperies made of formaldehyde-treated durable press fabrics may add slightly to indoor formaldehyde levels.

3. Cosmetics, paints, coatings, and some wet-strength paper products: The amount of formaldehyde present in these products is small and is of slight concern. However, persons sensitive to formaldehyde may have allergic reactions.

4. Pressed wood products: Pressed wood products, especially those containing urea-formaldehyde glues, are a source of formaldehyde. These products include particleboard used as flooring underlayment, shelves, cabinets, and furniture; hardwood plywood wall panels; and medium density fiberboard used in drawers, cabinets and furniture. When the surfaces and edges of these products are unlaminated or uncoated they have the potential to release more formaldehyde. Manufacturers have reduced formaldehyde emissions from pressed wood products by 80-90% from the levels of the early 1980Õs.

5. Combustion sources: Burning materials such as wood, kerosene, cigarettes and natural gas, and operating internal combustion engines (e.g. automobiles), produce small quantities of formaldehyde. Combustion sources add small amounts of formaldehyde to indoor air.

6. Products such as carpets or gypsum board do not contain significant amounts of formaldehyde when new. They may trap formaldehyde emitted from other sources and later release the formaldehyde into the indoor air when the temperature and humidity change.


If you have formaldehyde due to radiolytic decom. (not good)  some engineer somewhere didnt do his job because that stuff can blow or catch fire.  However the odor threshold may be well below any exposure limit and LEL.  I have made many power entries and did notice ozone which is common but never embalming fluid.  I worked as a chemist, took chemistry and biology in school and high school and never noticed the distinct odor. I am somewhat sensitive to it so I would have noticed. So I think you are telling that there are employee complaints and the employer is not assessing the cause??? Sounds like a weak safety culture..
« Last Edit: Oct 23, 2007, 06:36 by alphadude »

alphadude

  • Guest
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #5 on: Oct 23, 2007, 06:40 »
the solidification agent uform is a crude plastic or polymer (bakelite) and by adding sulfuric acid you are removing a water molecule forming the polymer. H O H

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #6 on: Oct 24, 2007, 06:51 »
I have made many power entries and did notice ozone which is common but never embalming fluid.  I worked as a chemist, took chemistry and biology in school and high school and never noticed the distinct odor. I am somewhat sensitive to it so I would have noticed. So I think you are telling that there are employee complaints and the employer is not assessing the cause??? Sounds like a weak safety culture..

The source is presumed to be organic compounds breaking down at high temperature. Since it is an ice condenser plant, ethylene glycol was presumed to be the culprit. But further evaluation is making it more likely that it is a breakdown of synthetic RCP oil. In actuality, almost any organic compound can breakdown at elevated temperatures to form formaldehyde. And for those who aren't chemistry nerds, organic is any carbon-based molecule besides carbon dioxide & carbon monoxide.

The comments I posted about employee complaints was an attempt to get people at other sites interested in this issue. Most plants do not sample for formaldehyde on power entries, so the only evidence is anecdotal regarding impact on the eyes. (I don't know of any site besides this one making weekly entries for required TS surveillances, but that is a different issue.)

I am dependent upon chemistry for the determination of the components of the air sample (with backup from Safety). So far every attempt to get a more detailed forensic evaluation has been recieved with, "You have been watching too much CSI". I would be offended if Chemistry told us that, but it is vendors Chemistry has contacted making the statement!

I am familiar with the impact of ozone upon the eyes, and realize that without an analyzed air sample, only the odor would distinguish between low levels of formaldehyde and significant levels of ozone.

All in all, I would have to say that the site response has been to maintain the safety of the workers. Rather than just donning respiratory protection or applying the OSHA allowed stay-times, the site directive has been to find and correct the problem (and purge until we are within the limit to allow us to find the problem). The site would be thrilled if anyone could provide the name of a company that specializes in tracking down such problems, or a vendor with better equipment. But I am beginning to doubt that any exist.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Offline grantime

  • Heavy User
  • ****
  • Posts: 295
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 468
  • Gender: Male
  • Retired Plant Health Physicist CHP, NRRPT
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #7 on: Oct 26, 2007, 12:49 »
are there drager type test tubes for Formaldehyde? It might still not be much help they cross react with other things in air too

breath in, breath out, move on----j buffett

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #8 on: Oct 26, 2007, 03:55 »
are there drager type test tubes for Formaldehyde? It might still not be much help they cross react with other things in air too

Yes. And Yes.
We are using those as a backup to the fancier systems that are out there.
If anyone has good data, I would still love to receive it. Currently I have received some contact info via PM that we are attempting to use. If it pans out, I will post it later.

Thanks to all for your suggestions.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

alphadude

  • Guest
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #9 on: Oct 26, 2007, 04:29 »
http://www.skcgulfcoast.com/products/ShowProducts.asp?CatNo=526-200&Show=Additional

SKC has it or knows where to get it and provides the accepted method of analysis NIOSH, ASTM. EPA or OSHA ID. EPA mthod TO11A or ASTM D5197 are standards for monitoring. The passive monitor on the link could be left in containment for 8 hours to determine your possible exposures or if that is what you are really being exposed too. 

So has the ventilation engineer considered the effects on his charcoal beds if he has to scrub iodine from containment atmosphere?  I think the odor threshold is around 0.8ppm so you could be well above this if you are getting physical effects..... its something to consider...

remember colorimetric tubes at best are +/- 25% accurate and may need an ozone scrubber to work effectively.
« Last Edit: Oct 26, 2007, 04:43 by alphadude »

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #10 on: Oct 26, 2007, 05:47 »
Thanks 'Dude
More good ammo for the battle!
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Offline grantime

  • Heavy User
  • ****
  • Posts: 295
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 468
  • Gender: Male
  • Retired Plant Health Physicist CHP, NRRPT
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #11 on: Oct 27, 2007, 02:37 »
Let us know what you find.  It may be something we need to look into here.  I've never noticed the smell but usually airlock air smells so bad you don't notice anything else once you get past it.  Besides its hot enough to singe the nose hairs once you get in :)
« Last Edit: Oct 27, 2007, 02:38 by grantime »
breath in, breath out, move on----j buffett

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Formaldehyde in Primary Containment
« Reply #12 on: Oct 29, 2007, 06:47 »
Let us know what you find. 

Will do. But it could be that we don't get a resolution for another couple of months. So be patient.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 


NukeWorker ™ is a registered trademark of NukeWorker.com ™, LLC © 1996-2021 All rights reserved.
All material on this Web Site, including text, photographs, graphics, code and/or software, are protected by international copyright/trademark laws and treaties. Unauthorized use is not permitted. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute, in any manner, the material on this web site or any portion of it. Doing so will result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | Code of Conduct | Spam Policy | Advertising Info | Contact Us | Forum Rules | Password Problem?