What are "pathways"?

A "pathway" is a way that the material can get into the body; for example, breathing air, drinking water, eating food. A pathway may involve several steps:

2010 Radiation Sources around LANL: The average radiation exposure for an individual from all sources was estimated at 792 mrem. One-tenth of one percent can be attributed to LANL sources.
2010 Radiation Sources around LANL: The average radiation exposure for an individual from all sources was estimated at 792 mrem. One-tenth of one percent can be attributed to LANL sources.

  • For the direct exposure pathway, radiation directly penetrates the body.
  • For the airborne pathway, a material is inhaled directly into the lungs and then moves into the bloodstream.
  • For the ingestion pathway, several different possibilities:
    • An animal drinks surface water, and then a human eats the animal.
    • Crops are irrigated with surface water, and then a human eats the crops.
    • A contaminant gets into the aquifer, the aquifer supplies the public drinking water system, and the water is consumed.
    • A contaminant gets into the aquifer, the aquifer supplies a natural spring, and the spring water is consumed.

A pathway may be interrupted or incomplete. For example, water from the aquifer is treated before it reaches the public drinking water system.



Contact Us | Careers | Bradbury Science Museum | Emergencies | Inside LANL | Maps | Site Feedback | SSL Portal | Training

Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's NNSA © Copyright 2011-12 LANS, LLC All rights reserved | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy