Presently, there is no standard sampling protocol for closure on a release of mercury. NIOSH 6009 and OSHA ID-140 mention analytical procedures but there is no QC/QA dealing with sampling protocol. The industry norm is to seal off the impacted area. The temperature of the area is elevated (at the level set by the opinion of the consultant or contractor). The room is then allowed to stabilize generally from 4 hours to a day. Samples are taken from 3 to 4 feet (the breathing air zone) from the floor.
Through this sampling process many aspects of life like conditions are not simulated. Mercury vapors are heavier than air. By allowing the room to stabilize, the mercury vapors are concentrated near the floor. There is no consideration given to the amount of foot traffic passing through an area. This foot traffic generally keeps the mercury vapors stirred through out the air within the breathing zone. If foot traffic is not accounted for, the sampling process could meet clearance levels in the breathing zone, and still have unsafe levels of mercury contamination.
The decision to ignore life-like conditions in the sampling process often does not take into account the breathing air zone of children and infants. Passive sampling techniques can lead to a false sense of security relative to long-term affects of mercury exposure.
Rader makes a conscious decision to use a very aggressive sampling plan instead of adhering to the industry norm. The worse case scenario is considered in each spill incident. The temperature in the impacted area is increased to at least 95 ° F. Fans are used to simulate foot traffic through the area. The mercury vapors are not allowed to stabilize in the area. Rader collects samples at different heights (depending on occupancy). During sampling temperature, field screening events, and activities are logged.
Rader takes mercury remediation very seriously. By using an extremely stringent sampling protocol, Rader’s clients have no doubts, fears, or concerns about the safety of the employees, friends, and families .