Groundwater Drunk by BILLIONS of People May Be Contaminated by Radioactive Material Spread across the World by Nuclear Testing in the 1950s
ENVIRONMENT, 8 May 2017
- Researchers looked at groundwater from over 6,000 wells around the globe
- They found traces of radioactive tritium in over half of the wells
- Even at low doses, tritium has been linked with increased risk of cancer
25 Apr 2017 – A shocking new study has revealed that groundwater drunk by billions of people may have been contaminated by decades of nuclear weapons testing.
Researchers looked at more than 6,000 wells around the globe, some containing water more than 10,000 years old, found more than half had traces of tritium.
Even at low doses, tritium has been linked with increased risk of mutation and cancer because it goes directly into the tissues of organs of the human body.
WHAT IS TRITIUM?
Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen, with a 12.3 year half-life.
It is used in fusion reactors and neutron generators.
It is also used as wrist watches and gun sights, due to its ability to make phosphor materials glow in the dark.
The researchers believe the tritium was spread around the globe by nuclear testing carried out in the 1950s.
The radioactive material was spread across the world by nuclear testing in the 1950s.
Although most of the groundwater that is accessible from deep wells is thousands of years old, the presence of tritium – an isotope of hydrogen – shows at least some of it is vulnerable to modern contamination.
Professor James Kirchner, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, said: ‘Roughly half of the wells contained some fraction of recent groundwater less than 50 or 60 years old.’
He added: ‘It is a bit like going to a giant old people’s home and suddenly realising there are lots of kids running around. That is great, except if the little kids have the flu!’
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