The increased use of uranium compounds in industry and warfare in the form of depleted uranium, causes concern and should warrant a necessary closer look at internal contamination with uranium poisioning and its toxicological consequences, both as a heavy metal and as a radiological hazard. Everyone in North America may be exposed to uranium. First, let’s see what uranium is and the sources.
Uranium is a lustrous, silvery, heavy, radioactive and polyvalent metallic element, found extensively in nature, which eventually disintegrates into lead. It is present in air, water, and food, and so almost everyone comes in contact with it, and we consume tiny amounts of uranium daily. Uranium is a heavy metal similar to tungsten, lead, mercury, and cadmium. Its toxic chemical characteristics as a heavy metal, are independent of its radiological characteristics. All the isotopes of uranium exhibit the same chemical behavior (reactivity) and possess identical and exert the same chemical effects on the body. It is important to note that DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) oxides formed at high temperatures from the use of DU armaments are not the same as DU metal or any other metallic form of uranium.
There have been 2,000 nuclear detonations on our planet since Hiroshima; over five hundred of them conducted above ground casting uranium and other radioactive substances into our atmosphere. Background radiation levels have increased and many of the harmful medical effects are still waiting to manifest. Radiation does its dirty work quite slowly when it comes to low level exposures, but its effect is cumulative (as is most metals and toxic chemicals). New exposures amplify the biological vulnerabilities already created by other exposure.
During one year of operation, a nuclear reactor produces as much long-lived radioactive poison as that released by 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. – Green Peace
A 2006 study by Joseph Mangano in Trenton, NJ, published in the International Journal of Health Services, finds that childhood cancer is linked with normal reactor operations. Cancer in children living near the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor rose after increased levels of radiation entered their bodies. Studies show the comparing trends at other nuclear sites. The breast cancer in women also rise in geographical areas near nuclear reactors. The nation’s nuclear reactors are leaking and many are losing their lives from it.
The uranous ion produces a toxic effect on the living cells by inhibiting the processes of metabolism of carbohydrates by the inhibition of enzyme systems. (Could this be a factor of why many people are gaining so much weight in the last couple of years)? This is done with the enzyme system specifically associated with hexakinase at the sites of ATP surface-building through magnesium-hexokinase mechanism. Early studies on the biological effects of uranium indicated that uranium salts given by mouth presented a hazard as a mild poison causing death.
SAT scores plunged in the early days of above ground nuclear testing showing neurological effects and even autism can be linked, in part, to nuclear generated power. Studies and research working with autism have mostly plotted out the dramatic rise in the 1990’s to sharp increases in the use of mercury containing thimerosal in vaccines. But at the same time radiation levels were increasing. Such plagues as autism and the dramatic rise in learning disabilities are fueled by a multitude of converging causes. The principle ones being heavy metals like aluminum, lead and mercury, combining with fluoride and aspartame and a myriad of other toxic chemicals —all interacting with uranium, and ionizing radiation in the bodies and cells of our young children. Human cells exposed to uranium bond with it and these other heavy metals and the resultant biochemical reaction can cause genetic mutations, which in turn can curtail cell grown and potentially trigger cancer.
The primary cause of death from acute radiation injury is usually infection by normal pathogens during the phase of manifest illness. Even minimally symptomatic doses of radiation depress the immune response and dramatically increase the infectivity.
Both mercury and uranium sit in the environment like invisible clouds that have spread out everywhere. With mercury, we find the exposure everywhere in our environment and vaccines, dental fillings, fish, all plastics and hundreds other of sources. With uranium, we have United States and Britain blowing the stuff up in distant battlefields only to have the radioactive poisons drift around the world.
It needs to be clear that everything done with radioactive substances is dangerous to mankind. The newest risk is coming from depleted uranium (DU) weapons and the huge tonnage of material already spilled across four battlefields. Though greatly concentrated in local war zones, recent evidence demonstrates that it is being carried in the high winds to distant lands. With the different radioactive substances having half-lives measured in thousands, millions and even billions of years, and with modern medicine in the first world depending increasingly on diagnostic machines with their own high levels of radiation, humanity is increasingly threatened by rising radiation levels as it is with rising levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals.
If depleted uranium enters the body it has the potentiality of causing serious medical consequences. The associated risk is both chemical and radiological. Once a radionuclide is absorbed, it is distributed throughout the body. The rate of distribution to each organ is related to organ metabolism, the ease of chemical transport, and the affinity of the radionuclide for chemicals within the organ. The liver, kidney, adipose tissue, and bone have higher capacities for binding radionuclides due to their high protein and lipid makeup. The kidneys though are considered the primary target organ for uranium chemical toxicity. Once the uranium is solubilized in the blood, the kidney will excrete some of it in urine. Uranium not excreted distributes to bone and soft tissue, including the kidney, liver, lung, fat, muscle, and then, to some extent, to all other organs. Although uranium in the body distributes to all organs with the main reservoir being the skeleton, the target organ is the kidney, where functional change is observed.
Iraqis and Kuwaitis aren’t the only ones showing signs of uranium contamination and sickness. Gulf War veterans, plagued by a variety of illnesses have been found to have traces of uranium in their blood, feces, urine and semen!
Multiple cancer cases are being reported in all nuclear battlefields where DU armaments were used (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq). Nuclear war has been reclassified as conventional with the use of depleted uranium weapons. Every war now fought by the United States has some form of radiation whether nuclear radiation or DU (depleted uranium) from armaments. No war is safe anywhere on the planet.