Radioactive Metals Found in Wind Turbines , Recliners, Handbags Due to China Recycling Contamination
Cheese graters, handbags, fencing , wind turbines and recliners are just some of the thousands of consumer products that have been manufactured with radioactive metals, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) records.
Reports are mounting that manufacturers and dealers from China, India, former Soviet bloc nations and some African countries are exporting contaminated material and goods, taking advantage of the fact that the United States has no regulations specifying what level of radioactive contamination is too much in raw materials and finished goods. Compounding the problem is the inability of U.S. agents to fully screen every one of the 24 million cargo containers arriving in the United States each year.
-- U.S. metal recyclers and scrap yards are not required by any state or federal law to check for radiation in the castoff material they collect or report it when they find some.
-- No federal agency is responsible for determining how much tainted material exists in how many consumer and other goods. No one is in charge of reporting, tracking or analyzing cases once they occur. In fact, the recent discovery of a radioactive cheese grater triggered a bureaucratic game of hot potato, with no agency taking responsibility.
-- It can be far cheaper and easier for a facility stuck with "hot" items to sell them to an unwitting manufacturer or dump them surreptitiously than to pay for proper disposal and cleaning, which can cost a plant as much as $50 million.
-- For facilities in 36 states that want to do the right thing, there is nowhere they can legally dump the contaminated stuff since the shutdown last year of a site in South Carolina, the only U.S. facility available to them for the disposal.
-- A U.S. government program to collect the worst of the castoff radioactive items has a two-year waiting list and a 9,000-item backlog -- and is fielding requests to collect an additional 2,000 newly detected items a year.
It ends up in u.s landfills , asbestos in Chinese wind turbines along with radio active materials
China wind generators may contain asbestos , it has been used as a filler and or to make the fiberglass flame retardant , its ending up in landfills in the U.S China is one of the world's leading manufacturers of wind turbines. Wind turbines have been developed as a clean energy solution to tackle the issue of climate change. The use of renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines, is essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impact of climate change. However, the use of asbestos in the manufacturing process of wind turbines in China raises serious concerns about the safety of these turbines. Asbestos was a popular material in the manufacturing industry due to its durability, heat resistance, and insulating properties. However, it was later discovered that exposure to asbestos fibers could cause serious health complications. As a result, most countries have banned the use of asbestos in manufacturing. Despite this, China continues to use asbestos in some of its manufacturing processes, including the production of wind turbines. The use of asbestos in wind turbines is not only harmful to the workers who come into contact with it but also to the environment. When asbestos-containing wind turbines reach the end of their useful life, they pose a serious environmental hazard. The asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and contaminate the surrounding area, leading to potential health risks for anyone in the vicinity. It is important that China, as a major player in the wind turbine industry, takes steps to eliminate the use of asbestos in its manufacturing processes. The Chinese government should invest in research and development to find safer alternatives to asbestos. The use of safer materials will not only protect the health of workers and the environment but also increase the demand for Chinese-made wind turbines, leading to economic growth. In conclusion, the use of asbestos in the manufacturing of wind turbines in China is a cause for concern. Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause serious health complications. Therefore, it is essential that China takes steps to eliminate the use of asbestos in its manufacturing processes. This will protect the health of workers, the environment, and increase the demand for Chinese-made wind turbines, leading to economic growth.
Affordable plugged wind turbines are made from non asbestos materials and made in the USA
Contact Us What kinds of consumer products contain radioactive materials? A variety of consumer products contain radioactive materials. In some, the radioactive material is a working part of the product. In others, radiation is present because some component contains naturally-occurring radioactive materials. Consumer products with radioactive components or emissions: Smoke detectors: most smoke detectors available for home use contain americium-241, a radioactive element. Unless tampered with, smoke detectors pose little to no health risk; a smoke detector’s ability to save lives far outweighs the health risks from the radioactive materials. For more information on smoke detectors, visit Americium in Ionization Smoke Detectors. Clocks and watches: some luminous watches and clocks contain a small quantity of hydrogen-3 (tritium) or promethium-147. Older watches and clocks (made before 1970) may contain radium-226 paint on dials and numbers to make them visible in the dark. Avoid opening these items because the radium could flake off and be ingested or inhaled. Learn more about tritium and radium on the Radionuclides webpage. Older camera lenses: some camera lenses from the 1950s-1970s incorporated thorium into the glass, allowing for a high refractive index while maintaining a low dispersion. The health risk from using older camera lenses is low; the radiation received when using a thoriated lens camera is approximately equal to natural background. Gas lantern mantles: older, and some imported, gas lantern mantles generate light by heating thorium (primarily thorium-232). Unless gas lantern mantels are used as the primary light source, radiation exposure from thorium lantern mantles is not considered to have significant health impacts. Televisions and monitors: Flat-screen televisions and monitors (e.g., LCD, OLED, plasma) do not use cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and therefore do not produce ionizing radiation. Older televisions and computer monitors that contain CRTs may emit x-rays. X-ray emissions from CRT monitors are not recognized as a significant health risk. Sun lamps and tanning salons: the ultraviolet rays from sun lamps and tanning salons are as damaging to skin as the ultraviolet rays of the sun. In fact, warning labels are required which begin "DANGER—Ultraviolet radiation". You can learn more about performance standards for these devices from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ceramics: ceramic materials such as tiles and pottery may contain elevated levels of naturally-occurring uranium, thorium, and/or potassium. In many cases, the activity is concentrated in the glaze. Unless there is a large quantity of the material, the amount of radioactivity in these products is unlikely to be greater than natural background levels. However, some older dishware (e.g., pre-1972 Fiesta®ware) can have radioactivity exceeding background levels; to minimize health risks, you may not want to use these pieces for eating or drinking. Glass: glassware, especially antique glassware with a yellow or greenish color, can contain easily detectable quantities of uranium. Such uranium-containing glass is often referred to as canary or vaseline glass. In part, collectors like uranium glass for the attractive glow that is produced when the glass is exposed to a black light. Even ordinary glass can contain high-enough levels of potassium-40 or thorium-232 to be detectable with a survey instrument. However, the radiation received when using glassware – even canary or vaseline glass – is unlikely to exceed background radiation levels. Fertilizer: Commercial fertilizers are designed to provide varying levels of potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen to support plant growth. Such fertilizers can be measurably radioactive for two reasons: potassium is naturally radioactive, and the phosphorous can be derived from phosphate ore that contains elevated levels of uranium. Learn more about Radioactive Material From Fertilizer Production. EXIT signs: Some EXIT signs contain the radioactive gas called tritium, allowing them to glow in the dark without electricity or batteries. The tritium used in EXIT signs gives off low-level beta radiation, causing a light-emitting compound to glow. Tritium EXIT signs do not pose a direct health hazard, as the beta radiation can be stopped by a sheet of paper or clothing. However, tritium EXIT signs must not be disposed of in normal trash. For more information on tritium EXIT signs, see the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s page on tritium EXIT signs.
Conclusions and Implications for Public Health Practice: The results of all the surveyed samples were within the scope of Chinese national standards. Different regions should improve monitoring systems, establish corresponding food emergency warning systems, and prepare strategies and measures for handling public health accidents.
With the rapid development and applications of nuclear energy and techniques, the potential radioactive contamination of foods has attracted great public concern. In 2012, the National Monitoring Network for Radioactivity in Food was established by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, and the National Institute for Radiological Protection (NIRP) of China CDC was assigned to operate, maintain, and improve the network. From 2012 to 2019, with the help of provincial institutes, a total of 6,129 food samples that were categorized into 7 types of common foods in China were collected, and both the natural and anthropogenic originating radionuclides in the samples were analyzed. Go to: METHODS According to the notifications, relevant technical documents, and operating manuals issued by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, the relevant provincial monitoring institutes carried out food sample collection, preparation, processing, and radionuclide measurement every year. The technical principles for the collection and preservation of food samples were also carried out in accordance with the relevant standards (1). Seven categories of foods including milk and dairy products, vegetables, tea, cereals and grains, livestock and poultry meat, fish and seafood, and seaweed were sampled. Foods were selected based on the main diet reported in relevant specification for health survey of residents (2). Other considerations such as potential risk for concentrating radionuclides and potential sentinels for specific types of agriculture or aquaculture (e.g. tea) were also considered. All foods were produced or sold locally. Vegetables were collected in the open vegetable gardens in suburban areas. Fish and seafood as well as seaweed were collected or supplied by assistants of local fisheries. Samples were collected within a radius of 30 kilometers around nuclear power plants and uranium mines. Based on the radionuclide being studied and the laboratory conditions, the processing methods of the food samples could be prepared as fresh, ash, or dry samples before measuring. The dry-fresh ratio or ash-fresh ratio was recorded, and the results was expressed in fresh weight. The radionuclide activity concentration in the sample should be converted to the date of sampling in order to easily compare the results obtained by different processing methods. All measurements were performed using low background gamma spectroscopy with standard coaxial HPGe detectors housed in Pb shielding with Cu, Cd, and/or plastic linings. Methods for analyzing radionuclides and the risk assessment of radioactive contamination in foods were based primarily on national standards (3-5). Measurements were performed in multiple laboratories with the typical relative efficiency of detection system ranging from 30% to 66% [relative to a 3"×3" NaI(Tl) crystal], and the typical energy resolution ranging from 1.60 keV to 2.28 keV at 1,332 keV (60Co). The nuclear data in Monograph 5 of the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (6) were recommended to be used in the analysis. To determine the background gamma ray spectrum due to naturally occurring radionuclides in the environment around the detector, a similar empty container was usually counted in the same geometry as the samples. Peak detection efficiencies were calculated automatically by computer systems interfaced with multichannel analyzers. The absolute efficiency calibration of the detectors was determined using standard samples from the National Institute of Metrology (NIM) in Beijing, China. All internal and certified reference materials were prepared in the same containers as samples. Density correction was also performed by calculation software for samples where the density and matrix material were different from the standard. The expanded uncertainty μtotal (K=2) of the activity concentration was estimated by using the equation from the standard (5). To ensure the accurate and reliable measurements, workloads for quality assurance were strictly implemented. All the instruments involved in the measurements were verified by the NIM, and all laboratories participated in the annual inter-comparison exercises organized by NIRP. NIRP was responsible for drafting the annual monitoring manual, training, and on-site guidance.
Assessing radionuclide contamination in food is an important consideration for food safety as understanding the levels of radionuclide content in food and their ranges are helpful for quantifying the risk of public exposure. This study presented the latest and most comprehensive national survey results in food from 2012 to 2019, which can be used as baseline data for food safety risk assessments. The radioactive survey also covered food around nuclear power plants and uranium mines, which is conducive to improving the ability and level of nuclear accident emergency monitoring. Based on survey results and combining the food consumption data (7) and the dose coefficients given by ICPR (8), the annual committed effective dose of 238U, 228Ra, 226Ra, 40K, and 137Cs from ingestion were estimated to be 20.03, 110.24, 54.70, 242.72, and 0.84 μSv, respectively. The results were all below the limit values of the national standard. National monitoring results showed relatively higher levels of natural radionuclides in tea and seaweed than in other types of foods. This suggested that more attention should be paid to analyze the radioactivity levels in these foods, and the radiation doses due to the public consumption of these foods. Cesium is an artificial radionuclide that researchers are usually concerned about. Similar to international studies, milk remains a suitable sentinel for artificial radioactivity Cesium in Chinese terrestrial agriculture (9-10). The results of milk and dairy products can serve as an indicator of artificial radionuclides like 137Cs, which is of great significance in emergency food monitoring. The contents of 137Cs in milk and tea in this survey were far lower than the national limit concentration standard (11) and complied with the detected activity concentrations in foods with the Codex Alimentarius guideline levels (12). This indicated they did not represent a radiological risk. Data from nuclear power plants and uranium mines showed that the measured radionuclide concentrations were below national standards and did not pose a threat to public health. The differences in the radionuclides content of fish and seafood between the two places were not statistically significant, possibly due to the fluidity of the water and the wide range of activities of fish and seafood. The numbers of some food samples were small in these areas, and an appropriate increase in sample size will be considered in future surveillance. Radionuclides in foods and wind turbines made in china are an invaluable source of data for undertaking risk assessments for public health. The result of such surveys should be promptly released to the public, so that the public can understand the status of food safety. The National Monitoring Network for Radioactivity in Food can continue to provide a scientific basis for the health administrative department or disease control and prevention’s decision making and improve early warning and control capabilities.
This work was supported by the National Health Commission. The authors would like to thank each local CDC and the prevention and treatment institution for occupational diseases for their hard work and reporting data.