[ RadSafe ] Genotoxicity of U

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 01:10:54 CST 2011

Dear Steven:

Given the world-wide distribution of uranium, based on crustal abundance
models and the widespread distribution of various geological environments
that concentrate uranium (e.g. marine black shales, granites,
uranium-bearing basins, etc.), I find it difficult to believe that such a
claim has not been validated years ago if there really is a correlation. 

What disturbs me more is that James and his ilk are not touting other
well-known naturally occurring agents.  Arsenic, for instance, is mutagenic,
teratogenic and carcinogenic and a heavy metal toxin.  

In 1991, I was an expert witness in a NW Georgia litigation involving a
chicken hatchery using a septic-tank leach field to dispose of high pH
cleaning wastes in a fractured limestone terrain with a low-grade
metamorphic overprint.  The limestone contained about 1-2% arsenopyrite
(AsFeS).  The high-pH solutions (pH ~12) hydrolyzed the arsenic from the
mineral causing a nearby spring-fed pond at a horse farm to have arsenic
concentrations of up to 0.5%.  Every foal died either at birth or when it
began drinking the tainted water.  All the mares developed various problems
such as colic.  When we drained the pond, only one poor, spine-bent fish (a
bass) was found alive.  The case never went to court and the chicken
hatchery settled with the horse farm and changed their waste management

The solubility of arsenopyrite in natural ground waters (pH = ~7) is quite
low and usually poses no risk normally.  In base-metal (Pb, Zn, and gold- &
silver-bearing mining districts, arsenopyrite is a common accessory mineral,
and due to the elevated ground water concentrations, there is a worldwide
correlation with bladder cancer.  Because of this well-documented and
worldwide correlation, municipal water systems must comply with an MCL of 10
micrograms per liter.  I would argue that such a low MCL (and the cost to
attain those levels) is partially unjustified and counter-productive, but
the data clearly support the carcinogenic effects of arsenic. This has been
known for decades.

The body of epidemiological evidence does not clearly link low
concentrations of uranium to a specific disease in the manner that arsenic
is linked. At least that is my current understanding and has been my
understanding for decades.

Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home - New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Steven Dapra
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 19:03
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Genotoxicity of U

Dec. 15, 2011

	It seems to me that if uranium was a genotoxin its effects would 
show up first in uranium miners and in uranium workers such as 
employees in gaseous diffusion plants.  (I am assuming that a 
genotoxin is a substance that would damage DNA and lead to birth defects.)

	Has an excessive amount of birth defects been found --- even 
anecdotally --- in uranium miners or workers?

Steven Dapra

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