Date of Award

Summer 2016

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Julie Hart

First Advisor

Terry Spear


Technical Area-18 (TA-18), also known as Pajarito Site, is located on Los Alamos National Laboratory property and has historic buildings that will be included in the Manhattan Project National Historic Park. Characterization studies of metal contamination were needed in two of the four buildings that are on the historic registry in this area, a “battleship” bunker building (TA-18-0002) and the Pond cabin (TA-18-0029). However, these two buildings have been exposed to the elements, are decades old, and have porous and rough surfaces (wood and concrete). Due to these conditions, it was questioned whether standard wipe sampling would be adequate to detect surface dust metal contamination in these buildings. Thus, micro-vacuum and surface wet wipe sampling techniques were performed side-by-side at both buildings and results were compared statistically. A two-tail paired t-test revealed that the micro-vacuum and wet wipe techniques were statistically different for both buildings. Further mathematical analysis revealed that the wet wipe technique picked up more metals from the surface than the microvacuum technique. Wet wipes revealed concentrations of beryllium and lead above internal housekeeping limits; however, using an yttrium normalization method with linear regression analysis between beryllium and yttrium revealed a correlation indicating that the beryllium levels were likely due to background and not operational contamination. PPE and administrative controls were implemented for National Park Service (NPS) and Department of Energy (DOE) tours as a result of this study. Overall, this study indicates that the micro-vacuum technique may not be an efficient technique to sample for metal dust contamination.