For the past two weeks we've looked at the CHMM certification and HMMT designation awarded by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management. This week we'll cover a new, not-yet-awarded designation: the Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP).
What is a CHMP?
The Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP, pronounced champ) is awarded by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM) to recognize professionals who have significant experience in the field of hazardous materials management.
The CHMP designation adheres to the same code of ethics as the CHMM, which we covered two weeks ago.
Education and Employment Requirements
The first thing an applicant must do is make sure they meet the requirements before applying for the CHMP exam. According to the IHMM, the applicant must have:
- Five years of relevant experience, with responsibilities directly related to the handling of hazardous materials and/or waste in the workplace; OR
- An Associate in Applied Science degree from an accredited college or university in hazardous materials management, science, environmental management, or environmental technology, plus three years of relevant experience as described above.
Two references must sign and complete the Reference evaluations form and send them to IHMM via mail, fax or electronic PDFs.
Once the applicant has been approved, they'll be required to take a three-hour test. The testing windows are scheduled during the last two weeks of odd-numbered months.
In order to be considered to take the first test in October 2007 the IHMM must receive all of the application materials including references and any transcripts by September 15, 2007. Applications after this date may not be evaluated but will still be considered as quickly as possible.
How Much It Costs
The application fee for the CHMP is $100. Once the application has been approved the examination costs $250. After passing the exam the first year's certification is due ($70) before certification can be made.
Maintaining the Certification
Annual certification maintenance fees are $70. During the five years a CHMP is certified, he or she must earn Certification Maintenance Points (CMPs) to qualify for recertification. Prior to the certification expiring, a CHMP must submit sufficient evidence of CMPs and a recertification fee of $70. A few examples of how CMPs can be earned are by:
- Active professional practice;
- Professional society/association membership;
- Professional development;
- Professional achievement/recognition; or
- A registered patent related to hazardous materials management.
If an applicant is unable to earn CMPs, the person may also elect to take the CHMM examination again, at a fee of $250.
That ends our series on hazardous materials handling accreditations. More information on the CHMM, CHMP and HMMT designations can be obtained by contacting the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management at 11900 Parklawn Drive, Suite 450, Rockville, MD, 20852-2624, email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
|The Goiânia Radiation Accident|
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first step in a series of events that led to the radioactive contamination of a Brazilian community and the deaths of four people, including a 6-year-old girl.
When a private radiotherapy institute in Goiânia, Brazil moved to its new premises, it left behind a teletherapy unit, inside which was a thimble-sized capsule containing a radioactive substance, cesium chloride.
On September 13, 1987 Roberto dos Santos and Wagner Mota entered the partially demolished facility, found the teletherapy unit, which they thought might have some scrap value, placed it in a wheelbarrow and took it home. They then set about trying to dismantle the unit. Within a day or so, the two men became ill, experiencing vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. The clinic's diagnosis was that the men were suffering an allergic reaction caused by eating bad food. So the two continued with their efforts to dismantle the unit, eventually rupturing the source capsule and exposing the radioactive material.
The source assembly remnants were then sold to junkyard owner, Devair Alves Ferreira. At night, Ferreira saw a strange blue glow coming from the source capsule. Thinking the contents were valuable, he took it next door to his house where he removed some of the capsule's contents and showed it to friends. Some of them used it on their skin as if it was glitter. Later, junkyard workers tried to remove the lead casing of the canister. Many people were starting to get ill; those who sought medical attention were diagnosed with a tropical disease and sent to the Tropical Diseases Hospital.
Detecting the Radiation
It was the junkyard owner's wife, Maria Gabriela Ferreira, who was the first to figure out the connection. Many of the people around her were becoming ill and she thought that the piece of scrap metal was the cause. She took the canister, placed it in a plastic bag and took it by bus to the public health department. Suspecting the material to be dangerous, the doctor placed the plastic bag on a chair in the courtyard. He then notified a local physicist, who, using a borrowed scintillation detector, determined the material was a major source of radiation. He contacted authorities and the accident response measures started that evening, September 29th, a full two weeks after the unit was first discovered.
The Effect on the Community
In those two weeks, many people came in direct contact with the radioactive material. Some rubbed it on their skin, some ate with contaminated hands. Even the heavy rains that occurred between September 21 and 28 spread the material further into the community, depositing radioactive material onto roofs. Decontamination took months.
Many lessons were learned by the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN), but no legislation was changed until nine years later. On December 24, 1996, the national congress adopted a law that provided for the grant of life pensions to compensate persons exposed to the radiation. It also provides for children born with physical abnormalities resulting from the incident. As well, employees of the health inspection service are undergoing medical examinations to establish their level of irradiation. They may be considered victims of the incident, with the right to the special pension.
In their 1988 study of the Goiânia radiation accident, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that:
- 112,000 people were monitored for contamination
- 249 people were found to be contaminated either internally or externally
- 85 houses were significantly contaminated
- 200 people were evacuated from their contaminated homes
- 42 homes required thorough decontamination
- 3500m3 of radioactive waste was generated and stored
The study also observed that:
- Nothing - not regulatory nor legal control - can or should diminish the responsibility of the person designated as liable for the security of a radioactive source;
- Good communication among all concerned in implementing and enforcing radiological protection requirements is critical;
- Radiation hazards must be marked in a way that the potential dangers are easily recognizable by all members of the public;
- In an emergency, qualified individuals are not always readily available, and even those who are available may not have relevant operational experience. It is therefore important that emergency response plans include provisions for training.
The 1988 report ends with the statement: "No radiological accident is acceptable, and the public must feel confident that the competent authorities and individuals are doing all in their power to prevent them. Part of this process is to learn the lessons of the accident in Goiânia."
It seems the organization took this statement to heart. On October 3-5 of this year, a meeting organized by the IAEA and hosted by the Government of Brazil, through the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission, will review the lessons learned in the 20 years since the Goiânia accident, with a focus on how the experience can be used to create effective preparedness plans.