Document Details

Inter-Company Correspondence (June 14, 1948)
Subject Terms:
chemical toxicity, uranium; compounds, element, radiation; hematology, renal; impression plate, chronic
Document Location:
DOE INFORMATION CENTER 1 Way, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; Eva Butler; Phone: 865-241-4780; Toll-Free: 800-382-6938, Option 6; FAX: 865-574-3521; Email:
Document Categories:
Specific Material\Uranium; Health, Safety and Environment\Worker Health and Safety
Document Type:
Publication Date:
1948 Jun 14
Declassification Date:
1981 Dec 17
Declassification Status:
Document Pages:
Accession Number:
Document Number(s):
Y-D4-16/DEL REV; TEM-9412; TEM9412
Originating Research Org.:
Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation
OpenNet Entry Date:
1998 Jun 16
This correspondence is concerning the University of Rochester visit and a discussion of pertinent information dealing with the chemical toxicity of uranium compounds. Monday, April 5 through Wednesday, April 7 was spent in observation of experimental methods and in consultation with various people. The writer was most impressed with the vast amount of information that had been gathered during the past five years on the chemical toxicity of uranium compounds. It was agreed that film monitoring in a uranium machine shop was certainly necessary; that the film badge was not adequate because of its remote location from the source of radiation. The finger pad method is the only logical approach from the standpoint of both legality and protection. It was recommended that finger impression plates be obtained every three months on the uranium machine shop personnel. The primary toxic effect of uranium is nephritis, renal damage. It is possible that local irritation in the lungs is due to the presence of foreign material. In general, lung involvement is not nearly as damaging as the more specific action in the kidney. The mineral substance of the bone has a strong affinity for uranium and will compete with the kidney to collect the filtrable uranium. Some characteristics of chronic uranium poisoning are chronic proteinuria, significant alteration in vitamin C metabolism, loss of appetite, trend toward diuresis soon after exposure and trend toward anuria from 4th to 5th day, pulmonary changes, renal damage in a moderate degree, and time lag between initial exposure and grossly manifest symptoms. Favored in the rank of first place among early, sensitive, biochemical indicators are urinary catalase, protein, and the amino acid nitrogen/creatinine ratios. It has been shown that particle size, density, and solubility of the uranium compounds are most important because they effect the amount of inhaled uranium which is retained in the respiratory tract and the rate at which uranium is transported from the respiratory tract to the kidneys, where it has its primary toxic action. They have found that particles of insoluble dust smaller than one micron were more toxic than particles of larger size. Types of respiratory protective equipment were compared for efficiency and recommendations were made. It seems that a given uranium compound is many times less toxic by ingestion than by inhalation. Tables of data are included in this correspondence.

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