Constituent Selection and Retrospective Monitoring Aboard Submarines 2008-01-2124
The atmosphere aboard submarines can pose many risks to the health and safety of the crew. Significant effort is applied throughout a submarine's life cycle to manage these risks. The enclosed atmosphere of a submarine represents a unique environment where crewmembers can be exposed to low levels of trace contaminants for long periods. For the purpose of monitoring, atmospheric constituents are divided into three categories: onboard monitoring required (Type 1), retrospective monitoring required (Type 2), and no monitoring required (Type 3). Categorization is determined by the Submarine Atmosphere Advisory Board (SAAB) based upon the Submarine Atmosphere Health Assessment Program (SAHAP) ranking system, an algorithm that takes into account risk of exposure and outcome of exposure. The SAAB comprises representatives from undersea medical, toxicological and occupational health activities with technical consultation from the submarine engineering community.
Retrospective analysis is performed from U.S. Navy submarines to support detailed investigation of the submarine atmosphere beyond the capability of the installed real-time onboard analyzer. Materials brought onboard submarines are governed by the Submarine Material Control Program. Although some materials are tested under the Submarine Material Control Program to ensure they will not negatively impact the submarine atmosphere, testing of all materials brought onboard is not feasible nor is it in the best interest of the Navy. Instead, a managed risk approach has been adopted and retrospective analysis is used to prove the atmosphere is within specification after major shipyard evolutions, including new construction.