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Radioactivity sign at Acid Mine Drainage site on West-Rand

Over the past 6 years I have seen patients in several countries who have been tested for heavy metal toxicity.  A recent study in Punjab, India, revealed excessively high levels of uranium and other toxic metals in children in the Baba Farid Centre for Special Children, in Faridkot, Punjab.  Except for the 100+ children in Punjab whose hair analyses exceeded reference ranges for hair, another 37 patients in 5 other countries yielded test results that exceeded the reference ranges for uranium, for the respective tests. To date the source of the uranium is yet to be determined, but there are strong pointers to the thermal power plants, which produce high amounts of fly-ash, causing acid water to leech into the aquifer, disrupting the earth’s crust in rock formations in the soil of Punjab.

Outside India, the country with the next highest number of individuals exceeding the references ranges for uranium in hair, baseline urine samples and post-DMSA chelation samples was South Africa – showing past and chronic exposure. I counted 17 patients in South Africa with excessive uranium levels, 6 of whom have a diagnosis of autism (i.e. 35%). 4 Neuro-typical adults also had excessive uranium – all four had significant health challenges. 4 Children with severe learning disabilities and 3 with neurological damage (blind, oral apraxia, brain injury due to hypoxia) also had excessive uranium levels.  The source of the high uranium in South Africa is not hard to determine – South Africa has a legacy of unregulated mining dating back 120 years, resulting in high levels of acid mine drainage and radionuclides which are finding their way into the environment at an alarming rate.

In Ireland 6 patients showed excessive uranium – of these 6 individuals, 3 have a diagnosis of autism (50%, one with significant Learning disabilities and 2 are neuro-typical adults with health challenges.  My recent visit to Ireland confronted me with the shocking discovery that Europe’s largest zinc mine can be found in the Midlands of the Republic, Lisheen, and not more than 7 kilometers from Lisheen, is the lead mine of Galmoy.  Both of these mines have disturbed the earth’s crust and leech uranium rich water into the aquifer.  Large parts of  Ireland are plagued with high levels of Radon (Radon is a radioactive gas, the progeny of uranium) exceeding the safety limit by more than 20% (Radiological Protection Unit of Ireland, 2002).

Radon exposure in dwellings Ireland

Ireland - Radon map

Map Legend

Estimated percentage of homes above the Reference Level

Greater than 20%> 20%  10% to 20%10% – 20%  5% to 10%5% – 10%  1% to 5%1% – 5%  Less than 1%< 1%

Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf, had 9 patients which excessive uranium levels. 7 of these have a diagnosis of autism (77%), 2 are neuro-typical adults with health challenges and one is both autistic and has an inborn error of metabolism (genetic abnormality).

In Botswana 2 patients had excessive levels of uranium – one an LD child and one a neuro-typical adult.

In South Korea 3 patients from one family in Daejeon tested high in uranium – one neuro-typical teenager, one neuro-typical adult and one teenager with psychiatric challenges due to Tamiflu medication during a bout of swine flu.

Excessive uranium was most commonly found in mineral hair test results (27 tests  – 55% – some patients were tested repeatedly over several years). The Post DMSA chelation urine test yielded the next highest excessive uranium results (13/49) and the baseline urine samples least often showed excessive uranium (9/49).

It would seem, from my experience with these 137 patients in 6 countries, that hair mineral tests are the most valuable measure to detect past and chronic exposure to excessive uranium. Though DMSA didn’t effectively chelate barium, cadmium, manganese or uranium in the Indian study, it chelated uranium on 13 of the 49 tests done across the population in South Africa, Ireland, Bahrain, Botswana and South Korea (26.5%).

Along with uranium, aluminium, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth, cesium, mercury, palladium, platinum, nickel, lead, silver, thallium, tin, titanium, tungsten and zirconium were successfully chelated by means of DMSA. Arsenic, Lead, Mercury, Nickel and Palladium were by far the most successfully chelated toxic metals by means of DMSA across all 47 tests.

The mutagenic effects of uranium and its progeny are firmly documented in scientific literature.