Posts tagged accidents

Do you know of any good books on the medical effects of ionizing radiation? I have a bit of a morbid obsession with nuclear accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukashima and would like to hear any suggestions you might have. — Asked by vergiliusmaro

Nnnoooo…not off the top of my head, at least…I mean, almost everything I have thinks shit like this is just the best idea ever:

I actually find the subject really interesting on a cellular and molecular level, but I don’t know of any good *books* on it that aren’t incredibly focused on “Nuclear power is evil blah blah blah not ionizing radiation things blah”. 

For the general scientific side of things (including accident dynamics), I’ve always found the IAEA Publications website helpful. For more radiation/medicine-based stuff, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and Radiation Emergency Medical Management are worth checking out. REMM has a lot of really good images and explanations if you like the weird medical effects radiation has.

If you’re into radiological accidents, shit like the THERAC-25, Clinic of Zaragoza, and the poorly-reported Costa Rica incident are really interesting. THERAC-25 in particular managed to freak me out when I first read about it a while back. The Goiânia Incident is a good example of why looting old medical clinics is probably a bad idea, no matter how much scrap metal might be in them. 

Ways to die from your occupation:
Work in a flour mill with massive airborne dust buildup. 
In 1878, the Washburn ‘A’ Mill - the largest flour mill in the United States - was destroyed in a fiery explosion, largely due to very limited ventilation and a high level of flour dust in the air. Eighteen workers were killed.
This was far from an isolated incident. All industries that deal with fine particulate matter and limited oversight have at one point or another dealt with these explosion hazards. While a series of 1970s explosions in feed mills led to the passing regulations and laws regarding grain handling facilities, other industries still are only subject to federal recommendations and suggestions, and in limited cases, state-level laws. 
Because of the complacency that’s so easy to fall into when it comes to dust, and the non-binding federal recommendations, one of the most recent incidents involving dust build-up wasn’t even 5 years ago. In 2008, the Imperial Sugar mill in Port Wentworth, GA, was destroyed in a violent double explosion (and subsequent four-day-long fire of molten sugar), directly attributable to airborne particles from non-compliance to recommendations. Thirteen workers died, and fifteen were seriously burned.
Washburn Mill Historic Info
Mill City Museum
Imperial Sugar Explosion
National Academies on Grain Elevator and Mill Explosions

Ways to die from your occupation:

Work in a flour mill with massive airborne dust buildup. 

In 1878, the Washburn ‘A’ Mill - the largest flour mill in the United States - was destroyed in a fiery explosion, largely due to very limited ventilation and a high level of flour dust in the air. Eighteen workers were killed.

This was far from an isolated incident. All industries that deal with fine particulate matter and limited oversight have at one point or another dealt with these explosion hazards. While a series of 1970s explosions in feed mills led to the passing regulations and laws regarding grain handling facilities, other industries still are only subject to federal recommendations and suggestions, and in limited cases, state-level laws. 

Because of the complacency that’s so easy to fall into when it comes to dust, and the non-binding federal recommendations, one of the most recent incidents involving dust build-up wasn’t even 5 years ago. In 2008, the Imperial Sugar mill in Port Wentworth, GA, was destroyed in a violent double explosion (and subsequent four-day-long fire of molten sugar), directly attributable to airborne particles from non-compliance to recommendations. Thirteen workers died, and fifteen were seriously burned.

Washburn Mill Historic Info

Mill City Museum

Imperial Sugar Explosion

National Academies on Grain Elevator and Mill Explosions

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 
From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.

Though a name isn’t noted in the text, the case study notes (no loss of intelligence, negative personality change) lead me to believe that this is the inimitable Phineas Gage. Anyone who doesn’t know his story should go to the link and read the Smithsonian article on him. 

From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine. George M. Gould & Walter L. Pyle, 1900.