Sunday, November 9, 2014

Uranium Destroys DNA Through Chemical Action AND Radioactive Decay

Chris Busby has an excellent article at The Ecologist I highly recommend reading concerning the publicly unrecognized risks of uranium fallout - especially U 234 - from nuclear weapons:

The 'forgotten' uranium isotope - secrets of the nuclear bomb tests revealed

Chris Busby 4th November 2014

Papers reluctantly released by the UK Government in the bomb test veterans' legal case for compensation reveal what it has long denied, writes Chris Busby - that bomb fallout is rich in uranium, and that most of its radioactivity is concentrated in the 'forgotten' but highly active isotope U-234, explaining much of the substantial, long term damage to veterans' health.
The highly radioactive isotope U-234 accounts for most of the radioactivity in the Uranium in the bomb fallout. This is shown by direct measurement, and is readily explained by its concentration in Enriched Uranium.

Secret documents released to me as a result of an order by the Judge in the nuclear test veteran pension appeals (the late HH Hugh Stubbs) reveal valuable evidence about uranium in fallout. The documents show that fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing contains enormous amounts of uranium. This should be no surprise as nuclear bombs contain a lot of uranium, and most of it remains unfissioned after a nuclear explosion.

But what will come as news to a great many people is the importance in the fallout of an isotope of uranium that few of us have even heard of: uranium-234, a highly radioactive alpha emitter which concentrates in the 'enriched uranium' (EU) used in nuclear bombs.

All uranium binds to DNA and causes cancer and genetic effects in the children of those exposed - but U-234 is especially hazardous. A restricted document shows that the matter was raised as early as 1953 at a meeting at Harwell by the late Karl Z Morgan, who was in charge of analyzing health effects of the US Nevada tests.

Majia here: I did not know that uranium binds to DNA so I spent some time yesterday researching uranium health effects. I found a very interesting study documenting that uranium does indeed bind CHEMICALLY with DNA and these bindings have the effect of BREAKING DNA.

The study looked at the genetic effects of DEPLETED Uranium on mice cell lines because the comparatively low radioactivity of depleted uranium would allow the researchers to focus on the CHEMICAL interactions, rather than the effects of radioactive decay on cells.

The study found that the Depleted Uranium causes DNA damage in the absence of evidence of damage caused by oxidative stress (Oxidative damage is likely to be caused by radioactive decay as electrons are dislodged from their orbits by alpha or beta decay of a radioactive element. This study limited oxidative damage possibilities by using depleted uranium, which is much less radioactive):

Stearns, D. M., Yazzie, M., Bradley, A. S., Coryell, V. H., Shelley, J. T., Ashby, A. (2005). Uranyl acetate induces hprt mutations and uranium–DNA adducts in

Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells. Mutagenesis vol. 20 no. 6 pp. 417–423, 2005 doi:10.1093/mutage/gei056.


Questions about possible adverse health effects from expo sures to uranium have arisen as a result of uranium mining, residual mine tailings and use of depleted uranium in the military. The purpose of the current study was to measure the toxicity of depleted uranium as uranyl acetate (UA) in mammalian cells. The activity of UA in the parental CHO AA8 line was compared with that in the XRCC1-deficient CHO EM9 line. Cytotoxicity was measured by clonogenic survival.

A dose of 200 m M UA over 24 h produced 3.1-fold greater cell death in the CHO EM9 than the CHO AA8 line, and a dose of 300 m M was 1.7-fold more cytotoxic.

Mutagenicity at the hypoxanthine (guanine) phosphoribo-syltransferase (hprt) locus was measured by selection with 6-thioguanine.

A dose of 200m M UA produced 5-fold higher averaged induced mutant frequency in the CHO EM9 line relative to the CHO AA8 line…

…This is the first report of the formation of uranium–DNA adducts and mutations in mammalian cells after direct exposure to a depleted uranium compound. Data suggest that uranium could be chemically genotoxic and mutagenic through the formation of strand breaks and covalent U–DNA adducts. Thus the health risks for uranium exposure could go beyond those for radiation exposure.


The adverse health effects from occupational and experimental uranium exposures that have been established most significantly include lung cancer, from exposure to 222radon that is produced through the radioactive decay of 238U (3,4), and chemically induced kidney toxicity (5); however, bladder damage (6), birth defects (7) and chromosomal aberrations (8) have also been reported.

Thorough epidemiological data for health effects from either environmental exposures to uranium tailings or military exposures to depleted uranium are currently lacking due to insufficient study of both Native American populations other than miners, and the short time span since initial military exposures to DU weapons and munitions.

However, evaluation of DU-exposed veterans is in progress (9). Previous work has shown that depleted uranium as uranyl acetate (UA) produced DNA strand breaks in the presence of vitamin C, which suggested a chemical rather than radiological mechanism (10).

The purpose of the current study was to measure the potential for depleted uranium as UA to be toxic in mammalian cells. Depleted uranium was used because, besides being the commercially available form of uranium, it provides less likelihood for chemical effects to be masked by radioactivity. A soluble form of U(VI) was tested here because of an interest in environmental exposure through drinking water; however, it is not assumed that insoluble uranium provides no risk environmentally.

Based on previous work in vitro (10) it was expected that DNA strand breaks may be formed in cultured cells, and it was presumed that if strand breaks were occurring then those lesions could be relatively easily repaired.

Page 419: It was hypothesized that if UA was mutagenic in repair deficient cells then DNA damage should be occurring either by direct uranium–DNA interactions or by generation of reactive oxygen species. This hypothesis was tested by measuring DNA damage as strand breaks, oxidative damage and uranium– DNA adducts in CHO EM9 and AA8 cells exposed to UA.

Page 422: Data from the current study and our previous work (10) suggest that,

at least in the absence of added hydrogen peroxide, direct uranium(VI)–DNA interactions are more important than free radical mechanisms…..

Another mechanism by which metals damage DNA is by a direct covalent interaction. This pathway is known to be important for chromium (43), and it may occur for uranium as well. Uranium has been known to interact with DNA in vitro (44–46); however, to our knowledge this is the first report of U–DNA adducts recovered from cultured cells.

The current experiments found that uranium covalently bonded to DNA; however, at this time data cannot distinguish between simple uranium–DNA adducts and uranium-containing DNA–protein crosslinks or uranium-containing DNA–DNA crosslinks.

The current experiments did show evidence of DNA strand breaks in CHO cells exposed to UA (Figure 3). This is consistent with other studies reporting chromosomal aberrations inCHO cells exposed to uranyl nitrate (25) and in mouse germ cells exposed to enriched uranyl fluoride (47). However, because strand breaks were not the only DNA lesion observed, it is not yet clear whether the strand breaks detected in the comet assay were caused by direct action of uranium on DNA, for example DNA hydrolysis catalyzed by uranium coordinating to the DNA phosphate backbone (10), or were indirect intermediates of DNA excision repair.

In conclusion, depleted uranium as UA was found to be genotoxic and mutagenic in CHO cells. The presence of U–DNA adducts lends further support to the hypothesis that uranium is chemically genotoxic. This possibility of direct U–DNA interaction should be considered when extrapolating potential risks for people exposed to uranium in the absence of measurable radioactivity, for example in soil and drinking water, and in DU-containing shrapnel. Page 422

Majia here: We've had very little data about Uranium contamination from Fukushima. We mostly  only hear about Cesium and Iodine fallout in the atmosphere and ocean. A friend has analyzed the EPA atmospheric readings for Uranium in the wake of Fukushima and he has concluded that tons of uranium were launched into the atmosphere:
Nuke Pro: Conclusion – Fukushima really blew up, launching TONS of Uranium and Plutonium into the atmosphere.
My maximum estimate is 195 TONS of Uranium based on an affected column of air 8 miles high, and the reality is that the actual TONNAGE LAUNCHED may certainly be less based on assumptions made, but the bottom line is that a huge amount of Uranium and Plutonium was exploded and aerosolized.

Majia here: Note the detections of U234 and U238. That fallout could be in your DNA....


  1. I think this is what is meant by the "human condition". Too bad Graham Greene is not around to write a novel on these matters. His writings were always very prescient. For example, the Quiet American written in the 1950's. There clearly is something like the mass mind to which one can gain easy admission by visiting a large mall, watching plenty of TV, eating fast foods, even just getting the annual flu shot. Of course flu need not be the hysterical matter the medical world has characterized it as. In the mass mind it is money and power that operate to illuminate one area as opposed to another. Flu rather than radiation dangers. Ebola rather than the real state of the economy. The mass mind spends its time projecting and watching shadows on walls. There is no money to made by talking about Fukushima. No money to be made by disrupting nuclear power at a time when Obama has talked about a trillion dollar upgrade of the nuclear arsenal. Apparently there is money and power in re characterizing Russia as the global villain. All in all shadows on cave walls can be very compelling.

  2. Dr. Busby also thinks that Uranium is responsible for the detrimental health effects (like breast cancer and leukemia) from nuclear power plant emissions.

    In the video link below, Dr. Busby says this about nuclear effluent released from nuclear power plants:

    “…if it’s inhaled it gets into the lungs; it goes through the lungs into the tracheal-bronchial lymph nodes and then the lymphatic system can take it anywhere, and in particular where it takes it is to the female breast because that’s quite close by, and so these particles get into the female breast.

    So we find high levels of breast cancer in people who live downwind or close to nuclear power stations, for example.”

    “…My feeling is probably uranium particles are what causes the effects downwind of nuclear power stations…”

    @ 5:00 in