Uranium is a radioactive element having 10 isotopes with half lives that exceed one hour. Uranium 238 constitutes about 99% of the naturally-occurring Uranium and this is the isotope measured. Uranium 238 has a half life of 4.5 X 10 to the ninth years. Uranium 238 decays by alpha emission to produce thorium, Thorium 234, the initial step in a decay chain that eventually leads to lead. Alpha, beta and gamma emissions occur during this decay process. Because of the very long half life, the radioactivity danger is only slight. However, exposure to enriched or nuclear fuel grade Uranium (high in Uranium 235) does pose a health hazard. The measured result (Uranium 238) does not reflect or imply exposure to enriched Uranium. The major concern for (natural) Uranium excess is chemical toxicity rather than radiological. Uranium is a chemically-reactive element, has four valences (3,4,5 or 6), and may combine with: carbonate, phosphate, citrate, pyruvate, malate, lactate, etc. in body tissues. When not excreted in urine, Uranium may accumulate in the kidneys, spleen, liver, and in bone (substituting for calcium in hydroxyapatite causing osteoporosis). Uranium is nephrotoxic, causing damage to the glomeruli and proximal tubules of the kidneys. An early sign of Uranium excess is general fatigue. Kidney damage is reflected by excess protein, amino acids, or glucose in the urine. Albuminuria and urinary catalase are findings consistent with Uranium excess. Elevated hair Uranium is a confirmatory finding; whole blood and fecal analyses may corroborate recent or ongoing exposures. Uranium is more common than mercury, silver or cadmium in the earth’s rock strata, and may be present, at low levels, in drinking water (ground well water). Most commercial use of Uranium is for nuclear fuel, but it may be present in ceramics or colored glass, especially ancient or antique, yellow-colored glass.
If you suspect that you have an elevated Uranium level, it is important to determine total body load. Here at Chelation Medical Center we can do an IV Chelation provoked challenge, with a urine collection which will show your total body load of Uranium, as well as other heavy metals. We can also help you with water testing for uranium. Just give us a call.