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NCF Medical Committee (copyright 2016: Written permission required to repost)

From Summer 2016 Forum

On April 29, 2016, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “Radioactive hot spot prompts concerns” with a subtitle that read “Dispute over need for cleanup is part of debate about legacy of nuclear program.” This article describes an identified radioactive hotspot that is roughly one mile from homes in Missouri's St. Louis county. The radiation levels are several hundreds of times greater than the federal standards regarding exposure. However, because of its location, the federal government insists that the site is not a threat.

Well, recent test samples suggest that the contamination, associated with the former nuclear-weapons program, is entering a nearby creek and is moving towards homeowner’s yards. What the NCF has found most interesting about this article is the following. The EPA has identified thorium, an alpha-radionuclide, as the problem. To quote this article directly, “the contamination involves thorium, a radioactive material that can increase a person's risks for certain cancers if it gets inside the body, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.”

This echoes exactly what the National CFIDS Foundation formally announced in its 2010 Press Release, that alpha-radiation particles that were either ingested or airborne, were found to be in the urine of CFIDS/ME patients and that this was the likely cause of the disease in the NCF's patient cohort. Since then, genomic instability and chromosomal damage has also been identified in these very same patients. This is consistent with internal alpha-radiation exposure. Furthermore, CFIDS/ME has already been identified as the outcome of radiation exposure for the Chernobyl cleanup workers.

According to the Wall Street Journal's article, “The dispute over the hot spot is part of a larger debate nationally over the radioactive legacy of the nuclear-weapons program. With dozens of locations being cleaned up, one question is how much contamination can safely be left behind. In many of these sites, cleanup issues involve how accessible particular locations are to the public and what future uses might be. Some of the St. Louis weapons-related waste was stored for a time in piles above ground. Portions of it were eventually dumped in a landfill in the area, where heated arguments continue over what to do with it. Some waste simply fell of trucks and railcars as it was being transported.”

The federal standard for radioactive thorium exposure is 15 picocuries per gram. The test samples associated with this article were nearly 11,000 picocuries per gram, some 700 times the federal clean-up standard.

As we here at the NCF like to say, the biggest problem with alpha-radiation exposure is that it is very damaging when inhaled or ingested, even in miniscule amounts. Unfortunately, radiation is invisible. These particles don't have a red flag attached to them so they can be easily identified! Though this in and of itself has added to the technical challenge, this is not an impossible problem to solve. Alpha-particles can become airborne, they may be in the water supply and as a result, they can be found in the food supply. Internalized alpha-particles, typically because to their half-lives, are the gift that keeps on giving. The particles continue to cause perpetual damage to cells and tissues, either directly or in the case of the bystander effect, indirectly.

What this ultimately means is that CFIDS/ME patients are part of a global human rights issue that governments will neither acknowledge nor accept any responsibility for. Furthermore, this type of contamination could come from nuclear plants, warheads, munitions, etc. Pandora's box has been opened and we patients have purposely been forsaken because we simply don't matter. If you think that the lead in Flint, Michigan is bad, this is covert environmental contamination at its finest. These alpha-radionuclides ultimately breakdown to produce lead. Lead profoundly affects red blood cells and their ability to transport oxygen to tissues. Unlike viruses, bacterial and fungal infections, radiation can adversely affect all cell and tissue types and this is why there has been no cure identified for radiation sickness thus far. Our patients have truly been canaries in the coal mine!


Reference: Radioactive hot spot prompts concerns, Dispute over need for cleanup is part of debate about legacy of nuclear program; Wall Street Journal, Section A3, April 29, 2016; Online at


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