Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Tailings Of Long Years Of Oil Addiction and 'Preventative Warfare': Americans Suffer Higher Rates Of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, And Cancer

"Middle-aged English people are “much healthier” than their American counterparts, even though the US spends far more on medical care than the UK, according to a large international study published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Americans have significantly higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and cancer than English people in the 55 to 64 age group.

Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology at University College London, who led the British arm of the study, said the findings would surprise international health policy experts. His US colleague, James Smith of the Rand Corporation in California, added: “You don’t expect the health of middle-aged people in these two countries to be too different, but we found that the English are a lot healthier than the Americans.”

The researchers who were funded by several US and UK government agencies, set out to look at the social and economic factors affecting health but shifted emphasis when large differences emerged between the two countries. The study looked both at the way people reported their own health and – to guard against any bias from self-reporting – at objective biological markers of disease from blood tests. Altogether there were about 15,000 participants.

Samples in both countries were limited to whites and excluded recent immigrants, so as to control for racial and ethnic factors." ...

Clive Cookson "England beats US in health stakes" Financial Times May 2, 2006


Ranger Tailings Dam

"And as these [uranium main] tailings are left on the surface of the earth, they are blown by the wind, they are washed by the rain into the water systems, and they inevitably spread. Once the mining companies close down, who is going to look after this material forever? How does anyone, in fact, guard 200 million tons of radioactive sand safely forever, and keep it out of the environment?"

Dr. Gordon Edwards , CCNR


"In mining, the uranium and its decay products buried deep in the earth are brought to the surface, and the rock containing them is crushed into a fine sand. After the uranium is chemically removed, the sand is stored in huge reservoirs. These left-over piles of radioactive sand are called "uranium tailings".

Uranium tailings contain over a dozen radioactive materials which are all extremely harmful to living things. The most important of these are thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222 (radon gas) and the radon progeny, including polonium-210. If this radioactive sand is left on the surface and allowed to dry out, it can blow in the wind and be deposited on vegetation far away, entering the food chain. Or it can wash into rivers and lakes and contaminate them.1

While the hazard per gram of mill tailings is low relative to most other radioactive wastes, the large volume and lack of regulations for their containment have resulted in widespread environmental contamination. Moreover, the half-lives of the principal radioactive components of mill tailings, thorium-230 and radium-226 are long, being about 75,000 years and 1,600 years respectively.

The most serious health hazard associated with uranium mining is lung cancer due to inhaling uranium decay products." ...

Text and photo credit: the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia. With thanks.



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