A Blue Grass technician was a major contributor to a testing performance study that led to a change in a Department of Defense testing standard.
“For more than 25 years, I analyzed red blood cell cholinesterase, known as RBC-ChE, levels from 46 male Blue Grass Army Depot chemical storage area employees, who participated in a medical surveillance program requiring periodic RBC-ChE monitoring,” said Georgia Noland, medical laboratory technician, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Since we showed from this study that individual RBC-ChE levels do not change appreciably with time, it was decided that testing on a monthly basis was unnecessary.”
This information caused the Department of Defense to change their testing standard for workers who perform their jobs around chemical agents. Blood is now drawn from those workers every three years instead of monthly. This change saved time, money and effort, Noland said.
The RBC-ChE program falls under the Fort Sam Houston quality assurance division. Its ChE laboratory furnishes certified equipment to testing sites and provides specific methods and training to medical and laboratory workers.
“The Blue Grass plant is one of only seven sites in the United States that perform this procedure,” said Noland. “We all use the same type of equipment and brand of chemicals. We utilize procedures provided by the quality assurance division, so there will be no variance in testing or results due to method.”
RBC-ChE Levels in the blood can be used to show exposure to nerve agent, an organophosphate, even if symptoms are not visible. All workers at the Blue Grass site will be required to have an RBC-ChE baseline performed before operations begin.