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Chemical Expert: Residents will be exposed to extremely dangerous alpha radiation coming from sinkhole — Radioactive dust inhaled after carried by wind, surface water
Published: August 28th, 2012 at 12:36 am ET 

Title: Threat to Bayou Corne grows as tests show elevated levels of radium, butane traces in and near sinkhole
Source: Stuart H. Smith
Date: Aug 22, 2012


[Marco] Kaltofen, a civil engineer and president of Boston Chemical Data Corp., noted that test results posted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, show elevated rates of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, or NORM, in the liquid sinkhole. NORM is a frequent byproduct of the oil and gas drilling process, creating wastes that the industry has often then dumped improperly. Here’s Kaltofen’s analysis of the situation in Bayou Corne:

Radium in the body is absorbed because it is chemically similar to calcium. The normal maximum guideline level for radium in surface water is 5 picoCuries per liter, (pCi/L). The state’s testing found 82 pCi/L in the water of the growing sinkhole. Radium gives off “alpha” radiation. This form of radiation is extremely dangerous if inhaled or ingested, and less dangerous if exposed by skin contact.

Radium decays to produce the dangerous radioactive gas, radon. EPA warns that radon gas causes lung cancer, and that radon gas exposure can be as hazardous to your lungs as a serious cigarette habit.

In simple terms, skin usually protects the body from alpha radiation, but radon is highly worrisome because humans can be exposed by breathing it in. In the Bayou Corne situation, as Kaltofen notes: “Over time, some of the mud and crap in the pit will be carried away by wind, surface water, and even the tires of truck traffic, until it is inhaled as dust by local residents. This will expose them to alpha radiation, and increase their chances of getting lung cancer.”


Kaltofen said the air testing of the Bayou Corne area shows increasing traces of chemicals associated with butane, which would confirm some of the worst fears of local residents. Authorities have noted that the sinkhole is about 1,600 feet from a cavern containing over 900,000 barrels of liquid butane — a highly volatile and explosive compound, and there are fears the butane facility will be compromised.



Radiation Expert: “There are immediate radiation dose concerns” from sinkhole — Gov’t is in denial — “They don’t know what to do about the radioactive contamination”

Title: Update: Expert says Louisiana officials “in denial” over radium risk at sinkhole 
Source: Stuart H. Smith
Date: Aug 24, 2012




Stanley Waligora — a New Mexico-based radiation protection consultant and leading authority on the health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material, or NORM — confirmed earlier reports that radium levels at the site about 70 miles west of New Orleans are not within limits but roughly 15 times higher than the acceptable level set by the state.

Waligora said officials with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality need to launch immediate additional testing to ensure that the hazardous radium is not leaking into nearby groundwater and posing a threat to human health as well as livestock.


I sought an analysis of the recent DEQ test results from Waligora, who since a stint as a nuclear weapons officer in the U.S. military has been teaching, consulting and testifying as an expert witness in radiation litigation for more than 45 years.

He expressed concern that the state reported its findings of radium-226 and radium-228 as below acceptable levels, when in fact the results were 15 times higher than the state’s own standard for soil contamination. “Well, once again the Louisiana DEQ is in denial because they don’t know what to do about the radioactive contamination in the Bayou Corne subsidence,” Waligora wrote.

He added these findings:

There are immediate radiation dose concerns.

The release could reach the usable aquifer and contaminate drinking water along with livestock and irrigated crops. […]

Airborne particulate might become entrained and cause contamination to be inhaled by the public. […]

Radon gas emanating from the radium could be inhaled by members of the public. […]







August 28, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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