Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Citizens’ Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
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COMPARING THE NUCLEAR PATH WITH LEAD POISONING

Scott Leyland
CEO and past Green Party candidate
BC Southern Interior

As a candidate who has spoken out against local Uranium Exploration and Mining during the past two federal election, Iíve looked at the Nuclear Path from many different angles. None of these angles, none of the steps in the path, make sense. From a public health point of view, from an economic point of view, from a moral point of view, it all seems so sinister. However, I will confine my comments by comparing the Nuclear Path to Lead Poisoning, since I was born in Trail, B.C., home of the biggest Lead/Zinc refinery in the world and am proud of the achievements of my home.

We have a lead problem in Trail. Decades of smoke from the smelting and refining of ore has resulted in elevated lead levels in our area children, downwind from the smokestacks. Recent technological improvements have virtually eliminated lead from the refineryís emissions.

The company, Teck-Cominco, has joined the provincial and local governments plus service clubs in a program to plant exposed soil and to test for lead levels in children, plus subsidize remediation in homes where lead levels are high. The program has been very successful. Our childrenís health has improved and tests show consistent improvements in lead levels. The company has put a lot of money to help compensate for this well recognized hazard of lead processing, and it has been worth it.

This difficult local solution is small compared to the huge problem worldwide, however. Recent recalls of toys from China, and other public health campaigns against lead poisoning illustrate the acceptance of science, and the public at large re the real health dangers of lead in our bodies. Worldwide, where lead in paint, lead in fuel and other products, continue to poison children, the problem is barely approached, let alone solved. Childrenís health continues to be severely impacted by lead poisoning in the world. There is no dispute. However, the political will to spend what it will cost to clean up the man-made lead poisons in our world, likely will never occur.

Uranium and itís decay products are each many times more toxic than lead. After minutes, hours, days, years, centuries and millennia, each radioactive element deteriorates/stabilizes into a more stable element. The final element is lead.

Why then is this uranium, which is so expensive to mine, and process; which is so dangerous to all life forms; which results in so much destruction and illness as a weapons product; which requires so many government subsidies to use as a source of energy; why is this element allowed to be taken from the ground?