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Gamma Dose Changes to Material

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While moving to a new location I found an article I printed out in July of 2002 about worker's concerns over the health effects of handling irradiated mail.

The first inclination was to call horse apples on the concept.  Then a google search found the 84 page OSHA report replying to those concerns.

The Facts:
    Ion Beam Applications, whose main business seems to be gamma sterilization of single use medical implements, was contracted by Uncle Sugar to zap all the mail going to Congress and the White House.  They are using an electron beam generator to irradiate standard envelopes and an XWave machine (X-Ray Generator?) to irradiate packages.
    The dose to the items is 56 kiloGray (5.6M Rem?)
    The paper products come out discolored.  OSHA has found chemicals coming out of the irradiated mail above PEL values.  The description ius that the material comes out brittle and extremely dry and window envelopes can be melted.
    Does anyone have experience with one shot doses of this level and visible changes to materials?
    My instincts try to kick in and say they are not getting a pure gamma source but are baking the material with microwave frequencies.

MercTech :o

there is lots of data on irradiated material degradation- plastics fall apart, certain foods become loaded with peroxides, sounds like the yellow in the paper is due to sulfides-H2S may be evolved.  like a dummy, when i was younger i stored a poly container in the spent fuel pool for my tld experiements- turned into dust in a few weeks.

  The only True High Gamma Exposure situation I ever witnessed, or should I say the results of, was the light globes at TMI.  The light globes in the seal water injection filter cubicle were irradiated to the point of being black!  It's pretty hard to find a situation in a power plant where you can actually see the visible degrading effects associated with Gamma Radiation.  
  In my early days, at Peach Bottom, the use of poly ropes in the fuel pool was modified.  Although they didn't actually prove it was from the gamma radiation, the ropes would disintegrate!  Always at the point closest to the source.  Hum....Sounds coincidental!
  I'm sure their are a couple of old TMI'ers out there that could give a few good examples.

  Sorry, I think I went off track with that last posting on this topic.
  I'm not an expert, but I don't think the Micro-wave concept would be possible.  Due to the variency of materials that exist in the mail, that could prove to be a big problem.  I also read that the ozone produced during the irradiation is causing a problem and concern for workers.  
  I was thinking on the units you wrote..GRAY!  I believe that is associated with Rad's, not Rems.  It would be interesting to see if there is any type of correction factor associated with determining Rem equivelent?
  I'm always cynical when it come to the publications in the Radiation Sector.  Manufacturers will always define the least hazardous statistic associated with their product.  It makes it sound safe and even your three year old should own one.
  It would also be interesting to see the time frame associated with the Absorbed dose.  Is it 5.6 Rad in a hour, minute, second, or micro second?  The area measurement unit would also be interesting.
  Many years ago I did a couple of TDL shots on a dentist xray machine.  The total shot time was 1/10th of a second.  The shallow dose came out to be 480 Mr.  The deep dose came out to be 28 Mr.  When you calculate it out, it come to 17280 Rem/hr shallow, 1008 Rem/hr Deep dose.
  I would just be guessing, but with the production of ozone in the mail irradiators, I would have to say they are producing far above the xray machine.  With that in mind, I believe they are more than capable of producing the effects you described, either via the radiation directly, or through the bi-products produced from the radiation.

how do u think they make all those plastic wraps on peanuts and crackers- irridation! however its with beta.  the companies changed irridated films to the term electronic films- dont want any of those betas in my planters peanuts.  

blue topaz is a product of irridation as well as fancy diamond colors.  lots of gemstones are treated that way. the old blue topaz used to be radioactive because the rad techs didnt shield them from "trons" at the reactor.  now they are just blue.  


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