All over western United States, notices are springing up.
Uranium, the notices warn, tests at levels considered unsafe by federal and state standards.
The notices say you can drink the water — but drink the water over a period of time, and you can get cancer.
USGS researchers recently sampled 170 domestic water wells in the San Joaquin Valley, and found 20 to 25 percent bore uranium at levels that broke federal and state limits.
Uranium, the stuff of nuclear fuel for power plants and atom bombs, increasingly is showing in drinking water systems in major farming regions of the U.S. West. Naturally, authorities are doing little to inform the public at large of the growing risk.
Government authorities say long-term exposure to uranium can damage kidneys and raise cancer risks as well as provoke other health problems. Once the uranium is in the blood, the kidney will excrete some of it in urine. Unexcreted uranium distributes to bone and soft tissue, including the kidney, liver, lung, fat, muscle, and then, to some extent, to all other organs. Though the main reservoir is the skeleton, the target organ is the kidney, where functional changes are observed. Research teams at Tufts and the University of New Mexico also link long-term exposure to signs of reproductive and genetic damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey has found that in one region of Californian farms, roughly 250 miles long and encompassing major cities, up to one in 10 public water systems have raw drinking water with uranium levels that exceed federal and state safety standards.
Nearly 2 million people in California’s Central Valley and in the U.S. Midwest live within a half-mile of groundwater containing uranium over the safety standards.
Moreover, Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab detonates about 200 radioactive “dirty bombs” a year, creating deadly and radioactive uranium gas in the heavily populated San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay Areas of California. About 10 million people live and work within the large metropolitan areas.
The Los Angeles Times reported, “The Energy Department is spending $328 million to clean up two separate areas of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Livermore is one of two U.S. labs that designed nuclear weapons. It continues to conduct research into plutonium behavior, high-powered lasers, computer-simulated nuclear reactions and other areas. Under the cloak of secrecy, the lab conducted experiments with plutonium and uranium, and fabricated prototype weapons parts. At its large test range near Tracy, in Northern California, it blew up atomic triggers that used depleted uranium. In the process, Livermore released uranium, tritium, solvents and high explosive residues into the ground and groundwater, said Judy Steenhoven, deputy chief of environmental restoration at the lab.”