An ice-based system of personal, non-restrictive cooling of workers exposed to high temperature work environments in nuclear power plants was evaluated. The garments were designed to be worn under the protective clothing donned for penetration into radiation areas. The cooling system consisted of direct body contact with small packets of frozen water enclosed in the pockets of a shirt in high ambient temperatures (55° C) and moderate metabolic heat production (200–300 kcal/hr). Mean exposure time without cooling (control) was 52 min for workloads demanding 200 kcal/hr energy expenditure. A long garment with 7.2 kg of frozen water (LFWG) increased mean exposure time over the control by 242% (163% for the same garment with 6.2 kg of frozen water). A short version garment with 3.8 kg of frozen water (SFWG) increased the stay time by 115%. In field observations, the LFWG with 6.2 kg of frozen water improved stay time by 125%. The leveling off of the body temperatures and heart rates during the work both in the laboratory and in the field confirmed a reduction of heat strain associated with the use of these garments. Calculated heat balance equations of heat uptake by the ice predicted these results very closely. It was concluded that direct body contact with frozen water provided predictable adequate body cooling for the work and ambient conditions investigated in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health