[ RadSafe ] The Demon Metal or The Gospel According to Chris Busby

Fri Jan 3 12:04:01 CST 2014

Richard -

A good reference on the health effects of uranium is a (relatively) recent report by the National Academies of Sciences (Review of the Toxicologic and Radiologic Risks to Military Personnel from Exposures to Depleted Uranium During and After Combat). You can download a PDF copy from the National Academies Press (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11979) at no charge.

The short version is that uranium is chemically toxic - especially to the kidneys, but it is only very weakly radioactive. I have no idea what Busby might mean with his comments about damage multiplication - maybe he is positing some sort of synergistic combination of chemical toxicity plus radiological damage, but that's only a guess.

Anyhow - this book should help to answer your questions - happy reading!


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2014 12:31 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] The Demon Metal or The Gospel According to Chris Busby

Happy New Year, all!

As an old and recently re-subscribed member of this list, I would again 
ask for a bit more information. I went to Hawaii this fall and didn't 
even bring my Geiger counter <smile>. I have learned a good deal in the 
past from many good folks on this list about hormesis and background 
radiation which have assuaged most of my fears about radiation.

Please note my radiation links on my web site:
www.richardhess.com/be (scroll down to the trefoil radiation symbol).
In this, I include a link to Ed Hiserodt's book "Underexposed: What if 
Radiation is Actually GOOD For You?"

I do not know much about Busby, and Dan's post illustrates the sloppy 
and colloquial communication style of Busby which is the opposite of 
what I would expect from a professional, but beyond that, I did read the 
entire article.

There have been suspicions over the years that depleted uranium has been 
injurious. Now, I understand that it is depleted and it is not a risk 
from a radiological perspective, however, it is considered highly toxic 
independent of the radiological issues:

> Uranium and its compounds are highly toxic, both from a chemical and 
> radiological standpoint. Finely divided uranium metal, being 
> pyrophoric, presents a fire hazard. In nature, U(VI) forms highly 
> soluble carbonate complexes at alkaline pH. This leads to an increase 
> in mobility and availability of uranium to groundwater and soil from 
> nuclear waste repositories which leads to health hazards. Working with 
> uranium requires the knowledge of the maximum allowable concentrations 
> that may be inhaled or ingested. Recently, the natural presence of 
> uranium in many soils has become of concern to homeowners because of 
> the generation of radioactive radon gas and its daughters particularly 
> in confined spaces with low circulation such as basements. 

Busby postulates that there is a gamma ray concentration effect with 
higher molecular weight elements contributing more to it -- or at least 
that is how I understand his statement as described in the section 
"Uranium in tissues acts as a gamma ray damage multiplier" in the 
article cited below.

Has this line of research ever been followed up by more reputable 
researchers rather than just dismissed out of hand?

While I do not anticipate a large exposure to uranium, it would be good 
to know if there was another mechanism surrounding uranium that made it 
more hazardous--for non-radiological reasons--than previously thought? 
As I read Busby's hypothesis, the damage is radiological, but not from 
the inherent radioactivity of the uranium, but from the suspicion that 
being a good absorber of gamma rays turns these gamma rays into 
something that is perhaps more damaging as it absorbs them.

He uses the word "photons," but seems to ascribe more of the damaging 
effects of alpha particles than photons, so this leaves me confused.

I think what I'm asking for here are references that would aid me to 
understand the flaws in his reasoning. I am more cautious with lead, 
mercury, and asbestos now than I was as a youth--but what I did in my 
youth apparently wasn't too bad as I'm still around in my early 60s.

Please forgive me if this was beaten to death in my absence of eight 
years on this list.

Thanks in advance!



On 2014-01-02 2:29 AM, Dan McCarn wrote:
> More fearmongering from Chris Busby.
> The first words in the article are, "I am going to ramble about a bit here..
> "
> http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2205213/uranium_the_demon_metal_that_threatens_us_all.html
> Dan ii
> Dan W McCarn, Geologist
> 108 Sherwood Blvd
> Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
Richard L. Hess                   email: richard at richardhess.com
Aurora, Ontario, Canada           http://www.richardhess.com/
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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