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radioactive drywall

What is drywall made of?

Gypsum is sometimes mined from phosphate deposits but actually is mostly sourced from waste generated at coal plants. 

As mentioned in a 2009 article titled 'All Things Gypsum: Chinese Drywall,'"Most of the byproduct gypsum used in North America to manufacture wallboard is produced when coal-fired power plants clean their stacks." The gypsum found in the coal plant stacks (or, technically speaking, the flue gas desulfurization system) is chemically similar to that found in the Earth, however is called 'synthetic' gypsum.  The problem is that synthetic drywall gypsum has mercury, lead, chromium, aluminum and nickel in it too. 

When gypsum is mixed with water and paper, wallboard is created.  Gypsum is also used in toothpaste, medicines, plaster of Paris, stucco, plaster in construction, food and paint additive, and even as a component of blackboard chalk.

Reference: 'All Things Gypsum: Chinese Drywall,' 11.4.09, wconline.com; (More of quoted passage: "Stack emissions are fed through a limestone slurry and oxygenated in a process that yields flue gas desulfurization gypsum. Wallboard-grade byproduct gypsum and natural gypsum are chemically identical.")

Drywall, wallboard, gypsum board, and sheetrock are used interchangeably.

 

Why is drywall radioactive? 

Actors in a television sitcom aired in 2010 joked that drywall is made of peanut shells. It is not.  It is made of gypsum, a white, chalky substance that is a mixture of 1 parts water and 4 parts calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. However, what many people don't know is that this calcium sulfate carries with it trace quantities of naturally-occurring radioactive uranium and 'uranium daughters' and these too become embedded in the gypsum drywall of virtually all homes and businesses. These radioactive components of drywall, in fact, can lead to exposures to residents in three ways: high energy ionizing rays, gases and radioactive solids. One example is radon, the same radioactive menace that plagues houses built above old rock formations. Another is radium. Both are in your walls. In fact, even health physicists admit that drywall releases enough gamma rays from entrained radon-222 gas and solid radium-226 into rooms of the home that it could add one-third to a persons' yearly total radiation exposure.

Radium is actually the reason why people associate radioactivity with things that glow. Radium, which 'gives birth' to radon gas, is one of the few radioactive elements that do glow. In the early part of the 20th century, workers in watch factories would thinly apply 'glow-in-the-dark' paint, fortified with radioactive radium, on watch dials.1 These 'radium girls,' as they later became known, licked their brushes in order to create thin paint strokes but unwittingly ingested dangerous amounts of radium into their bodies; internalized radium can initiate hemorrhaging of the organs. In a moment, we'll get to how homeowners can end up ingesting or inhaling radium.

So far, we've learned two steps within the 'decay chain' of uranium. A decay chain is the sequence of differing physical states that allow uranium to eventually transmute into non-radioactive lead. Uranium eventually becomes, via a process called 'decay,' radium, which becomes radon. This radon decays into a solid radioactive poison called polonium-210. Polonium-210 has played an ever darker role in American history than even radon or radium. Why? Well, the phosphate industry has for a long time been the supplier of phosphate fertilizer to farmers, including tobacco farmers, and is indirectly the cause of the vast cancer epidemic among smokers. How? The EPA explains on their website: "phosphate fertilizers, favored by the tobacco industry, contain radium and its decay products (including lead-210 and polonium-210). When phosphate fertilizer is spread on tobacco fields year after year, the concentration of lead-210 and polonium-210 in the soil rises." What happens is that the radium, which is in phosphate fertilizers, ends up in tobacco field soils and these soils emit radon gas, which seeps into or onto the sticky leaves of the tobacco plants and decays into two solids, lead-210 and polonium-210. (The lead-210 breaks down bit by bit, in the decay chain, to become polonium-210.) Despite the "curing process, cutting, and manufacture into cigarettes," the concentration of lead-210 and polonium-210 more or less is retained. These toxins are lodged in the lungs of a smoker's body where damage occurs; biopsies of smokers have revealed polonium-210 stuck in the lung tissue and in the bones. The EPA says polonium-210 is an important factor in the initiation of bronchial cancer, and, although not mentioned on the EPA site, it may also incorporate into the blood, affecting the liver and other organs.  Smokers have two times the amount of radioactive polonium in the bones than nonsmokers and six times more polonium-210 in their urine than nonsmokers, which may explain smokers' high rates of bladder cancer.2  But, you may asking, the amounts of polonium-210 in tobacco smoke must be significantly higher than any homeowner exposure from radioactive emissions from drywall, right? Not necessarily.

This brings us to a problem not yet discussed: construction dust. Polonium-210 as well as radioactive lead-210 and radium are present in drywall dust that is breathable during (and even after) home construction and remodelling. When home construction or remodeling is underway or finished, homeowners and residents will end up breathing, eating and wearing drywall dust. Something like 200 pounds of drywall dust coat walls, floors, chairs, ducts and countertops during and following each large home renovation project that leads to the ingestion or inhalation of about 1 kilogram (more than 2 pounds) of dust by contractors and/or residents! The dust travels through the internal organs and lymph nodes and blood and ear-throat-nose channels.  Depending on the radium-content of the drywall, it will deposit anywhere from several trillionths of a gram to a few billionths of a gram of radium in your innards.  The authors of the book 'The American West at Risk' (p.506)3 note that "Edwin Lehman, an early radiological chemist, ....died in 1925 from the effects of radiation poisoning after inadvertently breathing low-radioactivity radium dust, amounting to less than a millionth of an ounce," which the authors converted to "about 8 billionths...of a gram of radium." The effects on health are even greater from the dust of phoshogypsum drywall.

Phosphogypsum drywall is made using the waste product of the phosphate industry. In case you didn't know, the phosphate industry mines phosphate ore to make phosphoric acid and sells this to companies which incorporate it into fertilizer and animal feed.  The acid-making process creates a toxic medley of waste, comprised of three-parts sulfur and one-part heavy metals and also radioactive chemicals. 

Phosphogypsum, which in many places of the world is still used in lieu of gypsum in drywall, is actually almost thirty times more radioactive than ordinary gypsum drywall. Amazingly, this extraordinarily radioactive gypsum drywall was built into in homes in the U.S. around 70 years ago and again as recent as 10 years ago. How? Well, around the time of the second World War, a company (now-defunct) called the Structural Gypsum Company used Florida phosphogypsum waste and made wallboard that was used in the construction of a number of homes and businesses in the U.S. Northeast. Then, in the mid-2000s, the U.S. was producing enough ordinary drywall for its domestic needs but things changed when hurricanes and other disasters depleted supplies and forced domestic building supply companies to begin importing it in vast quantities from China.  However, the drywall from China was the same kind of building material that Structural Gypsum Company put into American homes, phosphogypsum, a material that the U.S. government banned in 1989 from use in any building application!

Although there has been no investigation into the health effects of residents of homes impacted by Structural Gypsum Company's drywall, in 2008 homeowners in several southern U.S. states began informing federal authorities of health problems and curious corrosion issues plaguing their homes4 and many speculated the culprit was their drywall. In late 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) led an investigation that found that imported drywall - affecting more than 50,000 homes - contained higher than normal levels of sulphur (and other volatile chemicals). The 2009 federal study found that Chinese drywall samples had higher than normal levels of volatile sulfur compounds, which can 'aerate' into sulfur-based gases that may corrode copper and other metals. (The reason for the high sulfur content is that sulfuric acid is used to change phosphate into phosphoric acid, but that conversion leaves behind calcium-rich sulfur as the waste product. The smell in homes built with phosphogypsum-made drywall is due to the high concentrations of sulfur.) The CPSC's conclusion, however, fell short of explaining the severity of health and corrosion problems in many affected homes.

Why does the U.S. allow imports of phosphogypsum products yet enforces a 1989 law banning the use of domestic phosphogypsum in building materials? Are U.S. agencies covering up the true nature of the drywall controversy because they don't want to admit that they made a mistake - in allowing import of toxic Chinese drywall?5 Consider the following: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published in 1978 a document noting a study published two years earlier that "[suggested] that it is not unlikely that the total dose (external gamma and internal alpha) to the bronchi of occupants of homes built with uranium-bearing materials over a 50-year period at an average of 15 hr/day would approach that at which the incidence of lung cancer in uranium miners is doubled."  In the 20th century, several residents in a southwest Navajo reservation unwittingly built their homes using uranium tailings (waste product of uranium mining) and they too developed respiratory disease and some died from lung cancer from just breathing in the toxic emissions from their walls.  One resident - after years of exposure of living in a 'uranium house' - began bleeding profusely from his lungs and died 12 days later.6 Also, a 1974 federal study of 400 homes made with uranium-bearing material determined that the homes built with phosphogypsum wallboard increased resident's total annual radiation dose by around 50%.7 

Despite the known dangers of phosphogypsum materials and dust, the phosphate industry has been trying to lobby the EPA to use its phosphogypsum waste (which it piles into mountain-high 'stacks' in the mountainless state of Florida) in new applications. Yet, since 1989, the EPA has stood firm against industrial pressure to use it in road construction, new plastic composites, roofing tiles, and even to create artificial coral reefs or for use in pasture grass 'fertilizer'!8

Finally, it is important to note that even if a resident never remodels or lives in a place that experiences construction, drywall dust still poses a chronic exposure threat.  A German study of living rooms and workrooms found an average of 3,184 gypsum fibers per cubic meter of air.  This means that the walls are shedding fibers from gypsum plaster that becomes available for inhalation exposure. 9

Conclusion: For decades, scientists have known from studies of uranium miners that inhalation of radon gas and radioactive polonium and radioactive lead and other 'uranium daughters' can lead to respiratory disease. When will the public health authorities around the world decide that phosphogypsum drywall and even synthetic and natural gypsum drywall does contribute to the deterioriation of the health of human beings? When will governments decide that gypsum material should be replaced with a less radioactive and less dust-prone type of wallboard filler? Finally, when will the phosphate industry be held accountable for its contribution of radioactive poisons into many consumer products, ranging from tobacco to drywall, which all have caused harm to Americans?  

We need two solutions to end unnecessary exposures to Americans from the phosphate industry:

1) A ban on imported phosphogypsum building materials should be introduced and passed in the Congress.

2) The phosphate industry needs to be dismantled.

A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE CONTINUATION OF THE U.S. PHOSPHATE INDUSTRY 10

WHEREAS, the phosphate industry extracts the mineral phosphate from igneous (fluorapatite) and sedimentary (francolite) rock and for every 1 ton of phosphate rock processed into phosphoric acid via the' wet process' about 5 tons of waste is created; and,  

WHEREAS, according to U.S. News and World Report's 1995 article Sinkholes and Stacks, this waste 'is pumped from the fertilizer plants into the stacks in a slurry of waste water that is as acidic as gastric fluid or lemon juice. The effluent contains varying concentrations of 17 heavy metals or other toxic substances, including lead, arsenic, chromium, mercury and cadmium'; and,  

WHEREAS, this waste is known popularly and technically as 'phosphogypsum waste'; and,

WHEREAS, phosphogypsum waste is unusable, untreatable and ecologically damaging; and,

WHEREAS, phosphogypsum waste is created by the industry at the rate of 30 million tons per year and hitherto has created a waste inventory in excess of 1 billion tons; and,

WHEREAS, before 1990, the phosphate industry disposed a fraction of its phosphogypsum waste into the sea, and in 1989 dumped 10% of its waste in the sea; and,

WHEREAS, in 1990 the EPA mandated that the industry dispose such waste in 'stacks' on plant sites or as backfill in phosphate mines and not ocean dump; and,

WHEREAS, 'Bone Valley,' the heart of Florida's phosphate industry, produces 75-80% of the phosphate in the U.S. and stores this waste in 'stacks' of phosphogypsum waste that can rise over 300 feet high; and,

WHEREAS, Florida is home to more than 25 stacks, also called 'Florida's mountains,' which rise above the highest natural elevations in the state, creating a visual eyesore for residents and tourists; and,  

WHEREAS, the phosphate industry is not required to cover these stacks at all times and radioactive chemicals regularly are resuspended (blown off by the wind), contributing to radiological exposures to the public; and, 

WHEREAS, the weight of these stacks occasionally collapse karst topography, resulting in sinkholes, into which massive amounts of toxic ingredients enter into aquifers; and,

WHEREAS, in 1994, a 15-story sinkhole formed below an 80-million ton 'gyp-stack' maintained by IMC Agrico and apparently contaminated the aquifer that supplies 90% of Florida's drinking water with 4 to 6 million cubic feet of industrial waste-water; and,

WHEREAS, in the mid-1990s, a new stack in 'Bone Valley' was sited a mere few hundred yards from an elementary school; and,

WHEREAS, the phosphate industry wastes the time and effort of federal agencies - and taxpayer monies - by its lobbying and other pressure tactics to oppose and change federal restrictions on use of waste onsite and in consumer products or infrastructure; and, 

WHEREAS, the industry has largely failed to convince the EPA to incorporate its waste for use in road construction, new plastic composites, roofing tiles, artificial coral reefs and pasture grass 'fertilizer' over health concerns related to phosphogypsum's radioactive content; and,

WHEREAS, the radioactive content of phosphate products has contributed to our nation's cancer epidemic.  Unsafe levels of polonium-210 and other transuranics in cigarette tar stem directly from phosphoric acid-based fertilizers that the industry sells to tobacco farmers.  Polonium-210 and other phosphate-contaminants have been identified as key initiators of lung cancer in smokers; and,

WHEREAS, many residential and commercial structures in the Northeast and in other parts of the country were built with Florida phosphogypsum wallboard in the 1930s and 1940s and these structures may have increased the annual radiation exposures of thousands or millions of persons by one-third or greater; and,

WHEREAS, radium-226 is one of many radiochemicals in phosphate industry waste that if inhaled in significant quantities can increase lung cancer risk; and,

WHEREAS, phosphogypsum waste, according to a 1993 United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation report, has a typical value of 24 pCi/g of radium-226, which is some two dozen times the concentration of ordinary gypsum; and,

How to make  phosphogypsum

Phosphate rock is made of one part calcium, eight parts oxygen and two parts phosphorus. 

Phosphate rock  = Ca(PO4)2

In order to convert phosphate rock into phosphoric acid, a 'building block' of phosphate fertilizers and also livestock feed, the calcium needs to be stripped and replaced with hydrogen.

Phosphoric acid = H3PO4

Adding sulfuric acid injects the needed hydrogen and strips away the calcium

Sulfuric acid = H2SO4

What's left is phosphogypsum, which is 75% sulfur, part calcium, part radioactive, and part trace minerals (including fluoride) and heavy metals that are not good for the environment or human health.

Phosphogypsum = CaSO4

(sometimes it is attached to 2 water molecules, which makes it an acidic mixture)

Formula to make phosphoric acid = Ca(PO4)2 + 3H2SO4 => 2H3PO4 + 3CaSO4 

In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed a law that prohibited putting phosphogypsum, an industrial waste product with above-normal levels of radioactivity, into construction and building materials, including drywall. That law, however, surprisingly didn't ban the import of the stuff!

WHEREAS, a 1992 EPA rule allows reuse of phosphogypsum in agriculture and research if the radioactivity is about 1/3 of that generated in waste (less than 10 pCi/g of radium 226); and,

WHEREAS, farmers in northern Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, per the EPA's 'agricultural amendment,' are now using this lower-threshold phosphogypsum as a 'soil conditioner' (as 'fertilizer') or to help 'strengthen' peanut shells or to counter soil-saltiness or low concentrations of calcium or other nutrients; and, 

WHEREAS, continued use by some farmers of lower-threshold phosphogypsum is adding to the cancer risk and heavy metal poisoning of Americans; and,

WHEREAS, enormous use of potassium fertilizer in agriculture, combined with unsustainable farming practices and poor soil management, has contributed to runoff pollution, eutrophication of water bodies and the worsening of "dead zones" around the Gulf of Mexico's waters; and be it 

RESOLVED, that although the phosphate industry has played a significant role in agriculture and industry, the ecological and human harm caused by its past and continued operations outweighs all benefits from its many contributions; and be it further 

RESOLVED, that future phosphorus needs should be satisfied by zero or low environmental footprint substitute manufacturing processes of phosphoric acid that the phosphate industry failed to invent in its long history; and be it further

RESOLVED, the phosphate industry ought to be recognized in all official and unofficial considerations as a top public health enemy and the full force of citizen action and federal laws must be leveraged to ensure its entire dissolution.

 


FOOTNOTES 

1The radium paint was made of radium-226, which is an alpha emitter with a small beta and gamma ray component.  It has phosphorescing qualities.

2'The Invisible Drug,' pp.119-120 

3'The American West at Risk,' Howard Wilshire, Jane Nielson, and Richard Hazlet, University of Oxford Press, 2008

4 Complaints included: unpleasant emissions and odors in homes; unexplained corrosion of pipes, mirrors, outlets, AC units and wiring; and health problems, notably nosebleeds and respiratory disorders.  

Homes affected include not only those located in Gulf Coast states, but in all corners of the continental U.S., from Washington State to Maine to California to Florida.  See map of affected areas.

5 On October 29, 2009, the federal agencies looking into the imported drywall problem stated in a press release regarding radioactive materials that 'Testing conducted over the summer by federal and state agency radiation laboratories found no radiation safety risk to families in homes built with manufactured drywall. The strontium found in this drywall does not pose a radiological risk.'  The U.S. EPA's analysts looked at only 21 samples of unpainted drywall for radioactivity (in the summer of 2009) and only 7 samples were from overseas manufacturers and there was no indication if any of these came from China.  The EPA claimed the entire group of samples had about the same amount of radiation as each other and no more than is typical 'background' radiation in the environment, but disclaimed in a technical report that 'because of the small number of samples, the Technical Team cannot conclude that these samples represent all imported and domestic drywall nor that the results demonstrate statistical significance.'  

One of the samples that was of the imported drywall group (sample #53) stood out from the others and contained a higher-than-average 2.06 picoCuries (pCi) per gram of Radium-226 (226Ra; EPA NAREL).  (This amount is the same as 0.076 Bq/g.)

Because of the EPA's small sample size, it may have missed sizeable quantities of Chinese drywall with extremely high amounts of radioactive radium in it.  There has been speculation that a very large percentage of all imported Chinese drywall has phosphogypsum in it (read more in the July 2009 investigation by Los Angeles Times).  Since the radioactivity (Ra226 concentration) of phosphogypsum (in the U.S.) can range as high as 35 pCi/g (1.295 Bq/g) and, also, since some imported China drywall is made of 100% phosphogypsum, then the risk of cancer to homeowners in a worst-case hypothetical case is unknown.

In 1993, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) quoted a typical value of 24 pCi/g (0.88 Bq/g) of 226Ra in phosphogypsum; most drywall samples have about 1 pCi/g (0.037 Bq/g) of 226Ra

Phosphogypsum's naturally-radioactive content depends on the levels in the phosphate deposits that were mined, however China's phosphate deposits are just as 'bad' as Florida's.   

6 'A peril that dwelt among the Navajos,' LA Times, Judy Pasternak, 11.19.06

7 Study looked at about 60 of the homes built with phosphogypsum wallboard and determined the following: radioactive plaster in the wallboard gave off a yearly gamma dose to residents of 30 to 100 milliRem; at the time, the estimated annual radiation exposure to Americans was less than 200 milliRem/yr.

8 The EPA gave in at various times; some roads in Texas and Florida have been paved with phosphogypsum, and various concrete building materials were made and sold in the U.S. with the waste product.

It is unclear if the EPA considered what will happen when contractors and DIY homeowners working on improvement projects are demolishing walls and breathing in radioactive dust.   Consider that Chinese drywall is more fragile, and falls apart more easily than U.S.-made drywall.  

9A 1981-1983 NIOSH study found similar exposure levels to the air in urban areas: 'ranging from 600 to 4700 fibers/m3 of gypsum fibers were found in European taxi drivers, office workers, retired persons, and schoolchildren.' [Source - 'Chemical Information Review Document for Synthetic and Naturally Mined Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate): Supporting Nomination for Toxicological Evaluation by the National Toxicology Program,' January 2006, Prepared [for NIH] by Integrated Laboratory Systems, Inc.]    

10 Regarding clause 'WHEREAS, a 1992 EPA rule allows reuse of phosphogypsum...;' - The 1992 EPA rule established restrictions on use of phosphogypsum with a certified average concentration of radium-226 greater than 370 becquerel/kg, which is also 9.9 pCi/g; restrictions apply to most agricultural and construction uses.  (10 pCi/g is the same as 0.37 Bq/g.)

Regarding clause 'WHEREAS, many residential and commercial structures in the Northeast and in other parts...' - For several decades, the U.S. has benefited from an ample supply of home-grown gypsum wallboard.  The hurricane impacts, however, in the 2000s dwindled U.S. supplies and forced distributors to import drywall from as early as 2001 to 2008 from China, which has no regulations against putting phosphogypsum into building materials.  In 2006, the U.S. imported the greatest quantities to date of drywall from China, in excess of 500,000,000 pounds worth.  (U.S. 2004 domestic production of drywall was about 18 million tons.)  A half-century before the U.S. ban on phosphogypsum in building materials was put into effect (1989), large quantities of phosphogypsum were shipped (from 1935 to 1946) from Florida to the Structural Gypsum Company of New Jersey, which was a distributor in the northeast of wallboard, partition blocks and plaster.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found that a number of homes and businesses in the northeast had phosphogypsum in their walls.  According to a NRC document (titled 'Radioactivity in Consumer Products' (NUREG/CP-0001) published in 1978, numerous residential and commercial structures in the U.S. northeast were built with this Florida phosphogypsum before and during the war period.  The NRC noted in its document that "a number of commercial and residential sites [were] tentatively identified as containing phosphogypsum materials, and one can assume that numerous other structures of like construction exist in the same region."   NuclearCrimes.org doesn't know what happened with the NRC investigation and if the large number of affected structures still around today were ever cleaned up (like the town of Grand Junction, Colorado).

Regarding clause 'WHEREAS, in 1994, a 15-story sinkhole formed below an 80-million ton 'gyp-stack'...' - The stack at Agrico's New Wales plant in Mulberry, Florida, opened up at the southern end of the reservoir but a $6.8 million voluntary effort to plug the hole with '4,000 cubic yards of concrete 400 feet beneath the surface through 50 grout injection casings' (source) has closed up the damage.

Regarding clause about UNSCEAR value of 24 pCi/g of radium-226 - this is the same as 0.888 Bq/g


We also need to consider if any of the wallboard in the former World Trade Center towers contained phosphogypsum materials.  This apparently was never investigated.  Even if the WTC-1 and WTC-2 buildings contained 100% ordinary gypsum drywall with an average of 2 pCi/g (0.074 Bq/g) of Ra226, the roughly 0.01 grams of radium dispersed in dust from the 9-11 attacks - assuming 4 billion grams of drywall dust from both towers were dispersed and entirely ingested - would contain the equivalent of about 10,000-100,000 'serious health injury' doses of radium, some of which would be fatal doses.  The health injuries and cancers would stem from immediate exposure from the attack, work- and rescue-related activities at the 'pile' and delayed exposures from dust slowly filtering out of the ducts and ventilation systems of nearby buildings.  This author witnessed firsthand the rapid health decline and death of a resident living in the Village - who never was working in or close to the 'pile'; they apparently were a 'downwinder' from the toxic WTC dust that spread across Manhattan (and the boroughs) in large quantities even though the greatest concentration of debris fell to the south-southeast of GZ.   There is also the smoke detector product Americium-241 issue to think about too when considering WTC-related deaths.  Assuming 76,000 smoke detectors in WTC-1 and -2 with a combined total of 0.684 (2.5E-2 Bq/g) curies of Am241, the plume from demolished smoke detectors as a whole was about 70 times more radioactive than the dispersed radium (of 0.01 curies (3.7E-4 Bq)!   So, we can expect 100,000+ 'serious health injury' doses from the Am-241 if it was all consumed.  Of course, only a fraction of the Ra-226 and Am-241 in WTC dust was internalized, but certainly a sizeable fraction was internalized and will cause fatal malignancies and serious health problems for a long time in New York City and the boroughs.  

According to the book 'Let the Fact's Speak: An Indictment of the Nuclear Industry' (2006), in France on 10/9/1999, "a truck loaded with 900 smoke detectors, containing americium-241, and highly flammable materials caught fire on a highway in eastern France....About 40 people (police, firemen, and highway service personnel) were identified as potentially contaminated."  If a truck accident in France involving 900 charred smoke detectors 'potentially contaminated' 30 persons near the disaster area, then what happened to the millions of New Yorkers as 76,000 smoke detectors bit the dust?

Perhaps the health problems with Chinese drywall are also linked to the fact that (a) that gypsum is known to cause irritation (mucous membrane, respiratory), possibly leading to nose bleeds, and (b) brittle Chinese drywall will create more of a household dust problem than non-Chinese drywall.

  • Read updates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission  

  • Initial EPA analysis: http://tinyurl.com/ylmg2jj

  • View aerial photos of Bone Valley's light blue lagoons and snowy mountains of phosphate-waste - picture of a HUGE stack     
    View Larger Map

  • Chinese Drywall contaminants: radium-226, uranium-238, thorium-234, protractinium-234, uranium-234, thorium-230, gaseous radon-222 (half-life of 3.8 days), polonium-218, lead-214, bismuth-214, polonium-214, lead-210, bismuth-210, polonium-210, and stable lead-206.

  • The below chart tracks the changing 'score' of neutrons and protons over the decay chain of Uranium-238 (an ejected helium core is so-called alpha decay; an ejected charged particle is so-called beta decay).

      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Total
      U238 Th234 Pa234 U234 Th230 Ra226 Rn222 Po218 Pb214 Bi214 Po214 Pb210 Bi210 Po210 Pb206  
    protons (p) 92 90 91 92 90 88 86 84 82 83 84 82 83 84 82  
    neutrons (n) 146 144 143 142 140 138 136 134 132 131 130 128 127 126 124  
    Ejected helium core 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 8
    Ejected charged particle 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1   6
    Ratio (n/p) 1.59 1.60 1.57 1.54 1.56 1.57 1.58 1.60 1.61 1.58 1.55 1.56 1.53 1.50 1.51  


Did you know: At one point in American history the phosphate industry was the primary source for uranium for nuclear bomb production. Up to 75% of the uranium needed for early atom bombs was extracted via the phosphate industry. Unofficially, U.S. phosphate (waste) still remains a 'backup' supply of weapons-grade uranium, (albeit it would be very costly to extract).



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