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Home / Articles / News / News /  Contaminants found at Valmont Butte
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Thursday, January 26,2012

Contaminants found at Valmont Butte

By Joel Dyer, Jefferson Dodge and Elizabeth Miller

Arsenic: Skin damage, circulatory system problems, increased cancer risk. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, anorexia, vomiting, epigastric and abdominal pain, and diarrhea, in addition to dermatitis, muscle cramps, cardiac abnormalities, hepatotoxicity (liver damage), bone marrow suppression and hematologic abnormalities (anemia), vascular lesions and peripheral neuropathy (motor dysfunction, paresthesia). Chronic arsenic poisoning can result in general symptoms of weakness, general debility and lassitude, loss of appetite and energy, loss of hair, hoarseness of voice, loss of weight and mental disorders. Severe exposure can result in acute encephalopathy (a disease that alters brain function or structure), congestive heart failure, stupor, convulsions, paralysis, coma and death.

 

Beta particle, photon radioactivity: Increased risk of getting cancer

Chromium: Allergic dermatitis and a certain form of chromium is under review by the EPA as a possible carcinogen. Workers with prolonged exposure to chromium have developed nasal irritation, including ulcers and perforation of the nasal septum, as well as hypersensitivity and “chrome holes” on skin.

Gross Alpha: Increased risk of getting cancer

Lead: Delays in physical and mental development for infants and children; kidney problems and high blood pressure for adults. Lead can affect the gastrointestinal tract, hematopoietic system causing anemia, cardiovascular system causing elevated blood pressure, central and peripheral nervous systems, kidneys, immune system and reproductive system.

Manganese: Prolonged exposure to elevated concentrations either orally or by inhalation leads to responses from the central nervous system. Initial symptoms are headache, insomnia, disorientation, anxiety, lethargy and memory loss. These symptoms progress with continued exposure and eventually include motor disturbances, tremors and difficulty in walking, symptoms similar to those seen with Parkinsonism.

Radium 226-228: Increased risk of getting cancer

Selenium: Hair or fingernail loss, numbness in fingers or toes, circulatory problems.

Acute oral exposures can result in excessive salivation, garlic odor to the breath, shallow breathing, diarrhea, pulmonary edema, and death. Other reported signs and symptoms of acute selenosis include tachycardia (increased heart rate), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal liver function, muscle aches and pains, irritability, chills and tremors. General signs and symptoms include loss of hair and nails, acropachia (clubbing of the fingers), skin lesions (redness, swelling, blistering, and ulcerations), tooth decay (mottling, erosion and pitting), and nervous system abnormalities attributed to polyneuritis (peripheral anesthesia, acroparaethesia, pain in the extremities, hyperreflexia of the tendon, numbness, convulsions, paralysis, motor disturbances, and hemiplegia).

Thallium: Hair loss, changes in blood, kidney, intestine or liver problems. The primary targets of thallium toxicity are the nervous, integumentary (which produces hair and nails), and reproductive systems. In humans, acute exposures produce tingling, burning, pricking, numbness, lack of muscle coordination, delirium, tremors, and hallucinations. Chronic exposures result in alterations of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Baldness is the most common indicator of long-term thallium poisoning.

Uranium: Increased risk of getting cancer, toxic to kidneys

Vanadium: Intestinal cramping and diarrhea, eye and respiratory tract irritation, typical symptoms include coughing, wheezing, excessive mucus in the nasal cavity, sore throat and chest pain.

Data compiled from the Environmental Protection Agency’s information on drinking water contaminants and from the Risk Assessment Information System at the University of Tennessee, a federal resource for toxicity information.

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