Sunday, September 29, 2013

Human Health Implications of Uranium Mining

Black Hills Pioneer ‎- 3 hours ago
23 letter to Dr. Kelley thanking him for drafting the proposal, Dr. Heinemann stated that “research indicates that in areas where uranium mining ...

Anti-uranium doctors renew threat to resign - Montreal - CBC News

Mar 22, 2010 - The province decided against a moratorium before hearing from a provincial panel researching the health effects of uranium mining, said 

Canadian doctors renew threat to resign over uranium - Mines and ...
Mar 31, 2010 - 2 posts
Anti-uranium doctors renew threat to resign ... The province decided against a moratorium before hearing from a provincial panel researching - Medical society prescribes against uranium mining › Reference

Nov 9, 2007 - Medical society prescribes against uranium mining, Print ... Doctors have a sworn duty to do no harm, and in Larimer County that's extending to 

Medical Effects of Uranium Mining on Population & Native Peoples ...

Mar 11, 2013 - Doug Brugge on the medical effects of uranium mining and how mining particularly ... Brugge and Dr. Caldicott cover how they both started their ... articles Australia's aboriginal communities clamour against uranium mining
by Pat McNamara

Take a moment and list off the nuclear issues in Canada you are aware of: radioactive waste, medical isotopes, radioactive leaks and new nuclear reactors will come to mind. The media reports on little more. Few Canadians know how many communities and environments have been contaminated forever by the nuclear industry. Even fewer know the number of radiation-induced illnesses and premature deaths the Canadian Government has knowingly caused through its actions and inactions.
These papers list a wide range of nuclear issues and situations that have been caused and, for the most part hidden, by the Canadian Government since their involvement in nuclear weapons and nuclear electricity generation began 65 years ago. The government's current attempt to expand their involvement into all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle is particularly frightening.

Danville Doctors Sign Petition Opposing Uranium Mining -

Dec 21, 2012 - Danville, VA - A number of medical professionals in Danville are taking a stance against uranium mining. Danville's Vice Mayor Dr. Gary Miller 

Human Health Implications of Uranium Mining

Authors: Dr. Cathy Vakil M.D., C.C.F.P., F.C.F.P.

Dr. Linda Harvey B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D.


Uranium mining, in particular open pit mining, , involves digging thousands

of tons of radioactive rock out of a giant hole. Large quantities of

this rock are dumped onto the earth’s surface. The ore is then transported to

a milling facility, usually nearby, and crushed to a fine sand-like consistency,

creating radioactive dust and finely ground mill tailings. The uranium is

separated out, usually with strong acids or alkalis. The sand-like tailings,

containing about 85% of their original radioactivity, and often the chemicals

used in the extraction process, are deposited in large tailings ponds or

containments nearby.

Dust containing uranium and its progeny is produced in large quantities by

rock-crushing operations. This particulate matter, containing long-lived

radioactive isotopes, can leave the site on wind. Wind erosion of tailings piles

can be significant as long as these remain exposed to weather. Radon gas is

continuously produced by the decay of thorium 230, a radioactive decay

product of uranium 238, through radium into radon. Thorium 230 has a halflife

of 76,000 years, and will produce radon gas unabated for millennia.

Groundwater and surface water in the vicinity of uranium mining operations

frequently become contaminated (31). At the advanced exploration stage of

mine development, holes about 1-2” in diameter and up to 1200 feet deep

are drilled into rock, usually into the most concentrated deposits. A hole of

this depth is almost certain to penetrate aquifers, giving water access to

radioactive rock surfaces. Many uranium compounds and decay products are

soluble, toxic and radioactive. In an area of fractured granite bedrock, as

found in some uranium bearing areas of Ontario, many of the aquifers

interconnect and contamination quickly becomes widespread.

Uranium is a heavy metal which means that it is toxic in addition to its

radioactivity. In drinking water, at levels in excess of the safe drinking water

standard of .02 mg/L or 20 ppb, it is principally toxic to the kidney, in

particular the proximal tubules (32). Uranium can also affect fertility, fetal

growth and postnatal viability (33). It may cause malformations in fetuses

and might be associated with reproductive cancers. It concentrates in bone

and may interfere with the activity of osteoblasts, possibly contributing to

bone cancers and osteoporosis (32).

What are the risks from these tailings? According to the CAIRS study, a

person walking over a typical tailings pile for 1 hr every day will absorb a

gamma radiation dose of, on average, 0.73 mSv/yr (41). This would be in

addition to the ~1.0 mSv/yr of background gamma radiation we all receive.

Consider that doubling a person’s exposure will in general double his/her

cancer risk, and that this person will also be exposed to higher than normal

levels of radon gas near the tailings.