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Thread: Will uranium exposure harm edible foods?

  1. #1 Will uranium exposure harm edible foods? 
    New Member
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    Sep 2009
    As a result of a food preservation experiment (more of a bet, really) I have a few pounds of fruit that has been in a bowl (with lid) with a large chunk of uranium ore for about a month. The ore is contained in a plastic pouch which I cleaned beforehand and the entire setup was kept in a basement.

    I'm not certain of the exposure, but the rock produces around 250k-300k CPM on a Ludlum pancake probe at 2" probe-to-surface.

    Little point in bothering with preservation however if I cannot eat it. Is it harmful?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    New Zealand
    If you kept the ore well separate from the food, probably no harm. You would not want to eat food contaminated with such ore. However, the radioactivity impacting on the food would have been minor, and unlikely to drive chemical changes that might lead to the food being harmful.

    The only possible harm would be if the particulate radiation changed some atoms into radioactive isotopes. This is not likely to be a problem with the low levels of radiation you would have been using.

    Radiation of foods is normally done with radio-iodine which emits gamma radiation, rather than what you did, which emits particulate radiation. Gamma radiation is the safest, since it cannot render any atoms into radio-isotopes. Minor chemical changes can occur, but less than we see simply by cooking food.

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