V. Enhanced pollution due to technological processing. Waste elements that are put into the waste heaps release toxins into the environment, in an affect called “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials” (TENORM) by Environmental Protection Agency. In other words, when you bring toxic metals, which are buried in the ground with no potential to harm human health, to the surface, put them in waste dumps exposed to the air, and subject them to various technological processes, there is a potential for adverse affects on human health. This is particularly true in Arizona where there are abundant deposits of radioactive metals and poisonous arsenic. In 1999, Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D. C. published a report on this uranium and radioactive chemicals in the “Copper Belt” of Southern Arizona. Following is an excerpt from that report:
Nearly all rocks, soils, thorium, radium, radioisotopes,naturally occurring radioactive purposefully or inadvertently technologically enhanced naturally as any naturally occurring human exposure has been activities (NAS, 1999). . . .
Levels in excess of the federal MCLs and state guidelines were found in groundwater and surface water samples, as well as soil and sediment samples at abandoned and active copper mines. TENORM exceedences were also found in groundwater at active and inactive copper mines. Uranium byproducts were recovered from heap leach dumps and in-situ operations that feed SX-EW and ion exchange circuits at several copper mines. Radioactivity was discovered in copper mineral processing waste streams. Elevated levels of radioactivity were also found to occur in the process solutions and process wastes.
For entire report, see: www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/tenorm/402-r-99-002.pdf