Area radiology expert says Fort Bliss radiation exposure likely not dangerous
EL PASO — After than announcement of traces of radioactive material found at Biggs Army Airfield, an El Paso doctor said there is not a high likelihood the radiation is dangerous.
Doctor Arvin Robinson has spent more than four decades working in radiology and is currently the professor and chairman of radiology and residency program director at University Medical Center and Texas Tech said the levels of radiation would have to be very high and for a long period of time for the exposure to cause significant danger.
"Unless it's ingested in large amounts over a long period of time there's not going to amount to anything that will be significant," Robinson said.
Fort Bliss officials said traces of uranium from maintenance activities in the late 1950's that produced low-level contamination on post.
Officials said a possible exposure risk is from the ingestion of paint chips but have not said so definitively.
Robinson said radiation exposure could potentially cause organ or cell damage that's why exposure is controlled in medicine.
In the lab radiation dosages are carefully handled to prevent exposure to technicians and the radiation used medically also has a short life span.
"The most common we use is six hours so it decays very rapidly," Robinson said.
But even in an uncontrolled environment like at Fort Bliss, Robinson said he would be very surprised if it was dangerous at that level.