Uranium is radioactive. Humans have been digging uranium out of the earth worldwide for over a century, using it in everything from pottery glaze to atomic bomb production. While health impacts of uranium and its decay products were at first unknown, by the time of the Cold War atomic arsenal buildup, obvious health impacts (lung cancer, for instance, had become associated with uranium mining as early as the 1930s) were ignored in favor of nuclear warhead production. Uranium mines and mills spread across the US. In the Western US, as in most of the rest of the world, the miners and people living near these facilities were largely indigenous. Not only was the health of workers impacted, but because uranium industrial processes left radioactive contamination in soil and water, people living in the area also suffered health effects. Uranium and decay products still litter these landscapes, posing a continuing danger, particularly when inhaled or ingested.
Beyond Nuclear 17th Feb 2019 read more »