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Leak at underground nuclear waste site poses serious threat

There are a number of dangerous or hazardous substances that workers may come into contact with on certain job sites across Texas. For instance, asbestos or lead can cause serious illnesses, as can carbon monoxide. But when people think about toxic materials, none may sound more dangerous than nuclear waste and radiation.

Exposure to these particles can make any person understandably concerned for his or her own safety and depending on many factors, a person's life could be in danger. That is why it is critical for businesses to have safety precautions in place to prevent workers from being exposed to toxic materials. However, these steps sometimes fail, as was the case in a recent incident involving radiation exposure at a nuclear waste dump in another state.

Reports state that the dump had been accepting waste contaminated by plutonium for about 15 years without incident, despite the fact that the materials can be extremely dangerous. But it was only recently when a leak was reported on the site. Radiation was released and more than a dozen workers were exposed to contaminated air as a result of what authorities believe was a punctured waste canister. They have not been able to confirm this, however, as the canister is far underground and difficult to reach.

It is unknown what, if any, effect the exposure will have on the 13 people who were working when the leak occurred. It is also unknown if the air quality in the area will be affected by the radiation. However, these workers and any other victims of workplace exposure to toxic substances may want to consider getting medical attention and speaking with an attorney. The effects of exposure may not be immediately noticeable, but they can have a devastating impact on a person's health and well-being.

Source: USA Today, "13 exposed to radiation at U.S. plant," Feb. 27, 2014

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