[ RadSafe ] Salsman RE: Gardner Sellafield cluster

Richard L. Hess lists at richardhess.com
Wed May 4 14:11:05 CEST 2005

At 05:39 AM 5/4/2005, James Salsman wrote in part:

>In any case, I think there needs to be a distinction -- which I,
>as an outsider, must say is not always made explicit in the
>publications of the health physics community -- between general
>exposure to radiation and contamination with radioactive heavy
>metals which are toxic in their own right.
>E.g, if someone tries to calculate only the radiation exposure
>risk from a certain level of uranium ingestion or inhalation,
>that will seriously underestimate the risk of chromosome damage,
>because of U's catalytic production of hydroxyl radicals which
>damage DNA, RNA, proteins, and other vital substances.  There is
>evidence that error will amount to fully six orders of magnitude
>-- or five orders of magnitude for plutonium.
>Frankly, I think heavy metal toxicity hypotheses will explain a
>wide variety of observed symptoms which have been attributed to
>radiation but denied as infeasible by health physicists based on
>radiological dose calculations alone.

Hello, James,

As one amateur to another <smile> I think you've hit a major point that 
applies to many things alleged to be radiological, including, I think, DU.

But there is a widespread awareness of heavy metal issues. I worry much 
more now as I solder with lead-bearing solder (now outlawed in the EU, if I 
understand the regulations correctly) than I used to, for example...but 
then I'm older now and something else will probably get me before my 
infrequent forays into lead-based electronics solder (oh, and for 21 years 
I've used lead-free solder on my copper plumbing).

Remember lead-based paint? I knew people who still used it and preferred it 
into the 1980s--some of them making it themselves.

I don't have a cite, but hasn't the lead plumbing (the root Latin word is 
plumbum, isn't it, meaning lead?) in the water supply of ancient Roman been 
at least partially blamed for that civilization's downfall? Has this been 
confirmed or deprecated?



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