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Re: Re[2]: uranium in hair

In a message dated 98-04-13 18:35:29 EDT, Vincent.King@DOEGJPO.COM writes:

<<  Can somebody explain why John/Jane Q. Public is hearing about how much 
      uranium is in their hair in the first place?  Is this some standard 
      medical procedure?  Or maybe a new evaluation provided by hair 

Because a "laboratory" in the Chicago area is providing thousands of people
around the country with an analysis of the elemental content of their hair.
They report their results in standard deviations above the mean.  (I.e., your
uranium content is two standard deviations above normal.)  Thus, John Q.
Public becomes alarmed and contacts their local radiation safety agency.
      <<More seriously, my response was limited to the specifics of the 
      original posting stating that nuclear power plants were the feared 
      "source" of exposure. >>

Yes, however, our agency and others have received a number of these calls,
completely unrelated to nuclear power plants, so while THAT particular member
of the public may have latched onto the power plant as a possible reason for
his anomalous hair result, there are a half a dozen other callers who DON'T
live near a power plant and have the same questions about the analysis.
     << So while we are having discussions that are useful to US on the 
      variablility in uranium content of hair (which I am especially 
      interested in since I work and live on the Colorado Plateau), or how we 
      don't have a good "average" value (true), or that we need consistency 
      from analytical laboratories (VERY true), let's not forget that this 
      guy is waiting for an answer to whether he has radioactive hair because 
      of the local nuke plant.>>

Which is fine if that is all you are interested in telling him...."No, it is
not from the power plant," but that does not address why their might be an
elevated level of uranium in his hair, if there is at all....and makes one
wonder, especially if one is in the field of public health, whether or not
there IS a problem, or it is simply a poorly designed and/or mis-used analysis
which is being sold to the public.
Barbara L. Hamrick