Uranium, the miracle cure!
When I visit a lot of these uranium mines I have to wonder about the people that worked in them and how it affected their lives? They had no idea what they were dealing with. It was a chance to make some money, doing what they knew how to do. Whether it was silver, copper, coal or uranium, it didn’t matter. It was mining.
Knowing what we know now, I have to feel for them. At the time they thought it was a miracle cure. It killed cancer cells and who know what else. People would take the processed product, “yellow cake”, make a paste from it and put a big clump on a rag. Then fold the rag over into a square and sew it shut. Then if you hurt yourself or had an ache on your arm, leg or back, they would wet the pack and bandage it over that spot. They though it was the cure. They would event take a chunk of it, put it in a mason jar of water and store it on the shelf. Then if you had a stomach ache, they would pour the water in a glass so you could drink it. Then fill the mason jar and put it back on the shelf for the next person. Another cure for what ales you.
In this image I have a Geiger Counter that I am holding up to an out cropping of Uranium. As you can see, 63 uSv/h exposure, if you were in direct contact with this material. If the miners handled this stuff for 40 hours a week, radiation sickness would have been possible in just over a months time. 2 1/2 hours of handling this material would equal 1 xray of exposure. That’s like have 3-4 xrays performed on you every day you went to work. Let alone breathing in the dust!
Hard to imagine.
Luckily, once I moved 5-6 feet away from the rock, it reads normal. So you really need to be in direct contact with the rock for harmful exposure in the short term. Another reason why I don’t go inside any of the mines.