The canary died.

Well, it has come. I am no longer a radiation canary. The ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) I have developed after a very bad bout with influenza has its own ups and downs, and I can no disentangle the radiation ups and downs from it… and I am not sure that I even have radiation ups and downs anymore. I’m just screwed.

canary in a coal mine

An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that mining workers would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately.

(idiomatic) Something whose sensitivity to adverse conditions makes it a useful early indicator of such conditions; something which warns of the coming of greater danger or trouble by a deterioration in its health or welfare. (link)

I have been researching, writing, keeping a diary of my symptoms, talking about radiation-induced fungus, plant damage, other Japanese, Chinese, and American nuclear power plant meltdowns, the Bravo bomb, Fukushima, Honeywell Works, WIPP. I’ve been yelling and screaming.

That’s all behind me now, the rubber has hit the road, the shit has hit the fan. I am FRANTICALLY trying to stay one step ahead of this stupid disease, which few seem to know anything about, and especially doctors. Basically I have figure out what it is, from my own symptoms, and infer the whole damned disease process on my own, with increasing physical and cognitive impairment going on the whole time. I have to prioritize getting a handle on the symptoms so I can keep thinking, and so be able to find a more lasting solution to it.

So everything is all biochemistry now. I’m sorry… this is a radiation blog, but ME and its cousin CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) are really radiation sickness anyway. So it is somewhat on topic. Maybe I will be able to help the rapidly expanding number of people who will come down with this.

I’ve done all I can. I have to try to save my own ass now. Thanks everyone.

Fukushima AIDS, part 4: ME/CFS.

Fukushima AIDS, part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here.

I spent the day looking for a treatment for the encephalomyelitis I developed after a severe viral infection. It appears that TGF-beta (the immune system cytokine, transforming growth factor beta) levels suddenly shot up a couple weeks into the illness, back in April. TGF-beta antagonizes IL-22 (interleukin-22), which is one of the pathways for psoriasis. It also causes an autoimmune reaction to the optic nerve. This is what happened. I developed uveitis on the back of the eyeball, where it joins the optic nerve, and the psoriasis suddenly went away. IL-22 also protects the intestines against inflammation, and when it went away, bacteria and viruses suddenly started moving through the blood-brain barrier. I had a “Th2 shift” from autoimmunity to allergy, and an immune reaction to serotonin developed… I am showing demyelinating symptoms like nystagmus and Bell’s palsy. Antibodies to the 5HT receptor myelin are being created. The myelin acts as an insulator for nerve impulses in axons, and it is being degraded, so this is affecting electrical transmission in the nervous system. Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating disease, and there are some similarities to this.

The immune reaction to serotonin basically means that I have become allergic to my own nervous system.

I was having an extraordinary psoriasis flare when I came down with the flu. Psoriasis sufferers say the one good thing about their disease is that they never get sick. Well I had psoriasis real bad and I got real sick. The result was an extreme amount of inflammation. Massive amounts of cells were killed. So there were dead cells all over the place, full of bacteria, viruses, and radionuclides like plutonium. My immune system suddenly shifted to clear these dead cells out (apoptotic cell clearance). (link) Macrophages came to eat up these dead cells. But the cell clearance facility was impaired. The dead cells started leaking out.

It has been known for 25 years that TGF-beta levels shoot way up with radiation exposure. TGF-beta also causes hair loss… when you hear that radiation causes hair to fall out, it is because TGF-beta levels are elevated in the hair follicles.

This is really ME/CFS, or actually myalgic encephalomyelitis. (link) Both the serotonin antibodies and the bacterial translocation from the intestines are symptoms of this disease. (link)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis was officially listed as a neurolgical disease by the WHO in 1969. In 1988, the FDA changed the name of it to “chronic fatigue syndrome”. This was in the wake of Chernobyl. CFS became a “wastebasket diagnosis” when a doctor that couldn’t find out the reason for the fatigue would diagnose it as CFS, even if it was really due to heart disease or for some other reason. The upshot was that when researchers attempted to find biomarkers for the disease, the ME people were mixed together with the CFS people, and no consistent results could be found. This was by design. The Russians knew from Mayak and Chernobyl that encephalomyelitis was a consequence of chronic radiation sickness. There is almost no money allocated by the government for ME/CFS research.

The pituitary tumor medicine which I was taking, which is an agonist for the serotonin receptors, caused a reaction, and I had to stop taking it. If the tumor gets huge again, and I have this disease, I am in uncharted territory. I have searched Pubmed and there are no case reports for such a thing. There is nothing for a doctor to base his opinion on. I know it can’t be good. Anyway ME/CFS has no cure or effective treatment by itself, either.

So the idea is to reduce TGF-beta… alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that seems to help. Pomegranate and oak ellagitannins also help, I have used these before for arthritis. Certainly reactive oxygen species play a large role in this, which are countered by antioxidants.

Phenibut helps a lot, but only for symptomatic relief. It is similar to baclofen and Lyrica, a GABA-B agonist. Phenibut reduces the release of 5-HT into the brain, and consequently reduces the immune reaction to it. It doesn’t deal with the cause of this, but it makes life manageable. It is not going to stop deterioration of the nervous system.

This has been an ordeal. When it gets bad, the brain fog, tinnitus, pressure & headaches are so bad that I can’t think. I have a difficult time with distractions, and even when there is absolute peace & quiet I find it hard to organize disparate bits of information, which is what this blog is all about. I am a programmer, and my whole career has been about mental focus and concentration. That is what has gone away. It is certainly scary, it is getting worse, and I know that 25% of those with true M.E. are bedridden and need care. It is easy to see how this could happen, and soon.

I will try to keep this blog going as long as I can, while I try to get a handle on this.

Uranium hexafluoride releases at Honeywell Metropolis Works, May 2012. Part 2.

Part 1 in this series is here.

1. Background:The Honeywell Metropolis Works in Metropolis, Illinois is authorized by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to convert 150 million pounds of raw yellowcake from uranium mining operations to uranium hexafluoride (UF6), which is then shipped to the USEC uranium enrichment facility in Paducah, to produce nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, and nuclear weapons production applications. This plant has a long series of UF6 releases and multiple environmental violations. Honeywell has engaged in union-busting tactics, and commenced a 13-month lockout of its union (United Steelworkers) in 2010-2011. They hired scabs to replace them, and the NRC granted it an unprecedented exemption to use poorly trained scabs in a nuclear facility to replace the locked-out union members. David Cote, Honeywell CEO, has a cozy relationship with President Obama, and Honeywell was the leading corporate contributor to the Democratic Party for the 2010 elections, even though he is a Republican. He is an outspoken supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship oil from the environmentally destroyed tar sands region in Alberta, Canada, to Texas.

2. On May 10, 2012, Honeywell officials announced to the union members that they must clear the plant immediately. They privately said to the workers that this was due to “sabotage” of plant equipment. The NRC and the media reported that this was due to “equipment failure”. Most of the salaried employees stayed. NRC inspectors had been on hand at the plant since April.

3. May 12, it was reported on the union local Facebook page that private contractors from the Shaw Group had been called in. It was noted that Shaw gets paid twice as much as the laid-off union workers. Shaw Areva is the operator at the Savannah River site, at which the construction of a MOX plant was recently cancelled/put on hold, and which is to accept spent nuclear waste from Germany.

4. May 14, a UF6 release occurred at the plant. NRC inspectors did an on-site inspection.

5. May 18, a notice is published in the Federal Register of a change that Honeywell uses to measure radiation dosage for its workers, allowing up to 20 times more uranium exposure than previously.

6. May 21, NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko announced his resignation.

7. May 30, a much larger UF6 release occurred at the plant. The NRC later announced that it amounted to 21 pounds, but this was from a “review”, not a direct inspection.

8. May 31, reporter Mike Elk was physically restrained from asking Cote a question on Capitol Hill.

9. June 13, the increase in allowed uranium exposure officially took effect.

10. July 12, Honeywell announced that the plant will be shuttered indefinitely, as a response to Fukushima, to be upgraded as protection against earthquakes and tornadoes. It was reported that Shaw has no experience in such work, which should have been performed by union members.

11. January 2013, union workers began to be called back to work.

12. November 4, 2013, it was reported that the refrigerator in the control room at the Honeywell plant was contaminated with uranium.

13. March 7, 2014, Honeywell CEO David Cote was elected to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

14. May 14, 2014, the Huffington Post reported that commissioner William Ostendorff of the NRC had invested in Honeywell stock during the lockout.

More to follow…

Uranium hexafluoride releases at Honeywell Metropolis Works, May 2012. Part 1.


HONEYWELL METROPOLIS WORKS

I came across this document while researching the radiological and health effects of uranium:


Mr. Larry Smith
Plant Manager
Honeywell Metropolis Works
P.O. Box 430
Metropolis, IL 62960

SUBJECT: NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 40-3392/2012-003 AND NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter refers to the inspections conducted from April 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012, at the Honeywell Metropolis Works facility. The purpose of the inspections was to determine whether activities authorized under the license were conducted safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. The enclosed report presents the results of these inspections. On May 3, 2012, May 25, 2012, and July 26, 2012, the findings were discussed with you and other members of your staff.

From the company website:

Metropolis Works is the only facility in the country that converts uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride (UF6). UF6 is an essential compound used to produce enriched uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants, which provide about 19 percent of America’s electricity. Metropolis Works is part of the Fluorine Products business within Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. (link)

Honeywell Uranium Hexafluoride Processing Facility, a uranium conversion facility, is located 3 km northwest of Metropolis, Illinois. The plant, Honeywell Specialty Chemicals in Metropolis, Illinois, has a nominal capacity of 15,000 tU uranium per year. The plant manufactures a variety of products, but about 80 percent of the plant’s work involves refining raw uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride. Across the Ohio river in Paducah, Kentucky, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, can enrich the uranium hexafluoride into various levels for nuclear power or nuclear weapon purposes. (link)

So this plant is located near the southern tip of Illinois, across the Ohio River from the USEC uranium enrichment plant. Honeywell converts raw yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride. It is then shipped across the river, where the USEC plant utilizes the UF6 in enriching uranium for nuclear power plant fuel. Apparently there is also a role in the production of nuclear weapons.

It is the only facility of its kind in the United States.

URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE RELEASES

On May 14, 2012, and again on May 30, 2012, there were accidental releases of uranium hexafluoride from this plant. According to the NRC document:

On May 14, 2012, the inspectors conducted an on-site inspection following a release of UF 6 during the preparation of a 48Y cylinder (Cylinder AC-123) for washing. The inspectors determined that in preparation for visual inspection of the internal surface, cylinder washing is normally performed by yard workers. At the time the release occurred, a salaried employee was performing the operation in accordance with the licensee’s procedure for washing UF6 cylinders. While preparing a cylinder for washing, the cylinder wash operator accidentally damaged the valve on the cylinder. The operator continued to prepare the cylinder for washing and while disconnecting the cylinder drain plug to insert a specialized wash adapter on the cylinder, released residual UF6 from the cylinder. From review of the procedure, the inspectors determined that the operator did not adhere to the written requirements of the procedure…

On May 30, 2012, operators were preparing a work site to make a line break to change out a pressure indicator on the auto sampler. The operators were establishing a second vacuum source using a Kinney pump on the first floor in distillation. The operators lined up the vacuum to the auto sampler, through the secondary sample cold trap using the Kinney pump on the first floor. The plant was in an annual shutdown and the cooling system for the cold traps was being serviced. Because the plant was shutdown, the cold traps were at ambient temperature, approximately 109 degrees Fahrenheit. When the operators started the Kinney pump and pulled a vacuum on the cold trap, it caused the UF6 in the cold trap to sublime releasing UF6. Approximately 21 pounds of UF6 was released exposing five operators who were treated at the dispensary with calcium gluconate and later released to return to work.

The graphic above, showing an atmospheric plume from the May 30 release, is from the web version of the HYSPLIT atmspheric dispersion model. I live in Maryland, near Baltimore.

URANYL FLUORIDE AND HYDROFLUORIC ACID

UF6 is vary dangerous. When it mixes with water vapor from the air, it is split into uranyl fluoride and hydrofluoric acid, both of which are very toxic. This document referred to a UF6 release in Oklahoma in 1986:

When UF6 is released into the atmosphere, it reacts with the moisture in theatmosphere to form uranyl fluoride (UO2F2) and hydrofluoric acid (HF)… The HF is a corrosive and irritating acid vapor that can severely harm the lungs and skin if exposed in sufficient concentration. The UO2F2 forms a particulate, which is very soluble in the lungs, and can be carried away by the wind and deposited onto the ground. As the released material was dispersed, an individual offsite could have been exposed to the plume carrying these chemicals. The plume, where it was highly concentrated, was visible and could be immediately irritating to the lungs. The immediate effects from the exposure of these chemicals are edema of the lungs, skin irritation from exposure to HF, and renal distress due to heavy metal (uranium) intake…

UO2F2 is a soluble form of uranium. Thus, the predominant target organ for the acute uranium intake as a result of this release is the kidney, and the toxicity is primarily chemical rather than radiological. When the UO2F2 particulates eventually deposit on the ground, the chronic effects from the intake of uranium through various pathways are from chemical toxicity as well as radioactivity.

Uranyl fluoride is corrosive, as well as hydrofluoric acid. Uranium (-238) is considered to be weakly radioactive. But it is an alpha emitter, and accumulates in the skeleton. It keeps accumulating for up to three years after exposure. Therefore, long-term effects from radiological toxicity can be expected, as well as short-term chemical toxicity.

Uranyl fluoride is also a neutron emitter. The neutrons come from the action of alpha particles on fluoride. (link) Since uranium is a weak alpha emitter, uranyl fluoride is also a weak neutron emitter. But, since neutron radiation causes chemicals in cells to become radioactive, the bone marrow turned radioactive from the uranium in the bones could cause bone cancer, leukemia, and immune system damage in the long run.

HEALTH ISSUES IN MAY-JUNE, 2012

I want to turn back to shortly before I started this blog. Around May 2, 2012, two radiation monitors in Colorado, close to each other, both suddenly registered readings thousands of times above background, at the same time. A day later, I got that familiar tingly feeling on my tongue.

A few days later, I suddenly found myself browsing Enenews. Two days had passed… I had no memory of those two days. Amnesia. Certainly the most bizarre symptom I have had since Fuku. I also had the overwhelming metal taste in my mouth, and I had flu symptoms for a few days. I attributed it to Fukushima, which was going nuts with radiation releases at the time.

I started this blog on May 18. Shortly after, more symptoms started appearing. Bumps on my abdomen, not really psoriasis that I am used to. My left eye started bulging out… I developed a pituitary tumor in January 2012, that caused my right eye to bulge out, and caused loss of vision in that eye. Now it started to appear in the left eye. Things were getting really bad.

Around May 31 and June 1, the symptoms started to increase again. I developed nystagmus, loss of coordination in my legs, arthritis was suddenly out of control. I would get bruises from bumping into walls. Warts started popping out on my skin. I got one on the tip of my nose. The plantar wart on my left foot is still there. Plus cold sores, teeth started loosening. I developed horrible proteinuria (a kidney condition), and the level of bubbles in my urine led me to think kidney dialysis was immediately called for. And about a week later, inverse psoriasis suddenly grew and covered my skin from the hips down to the feet. I am still struggling with this condition, but it is not nearly as bad now.

This was the time when I made this post:

There are too many symptoms to count. There is something wrong with my back, there is something wrong with my neck, there is something wrong with my chest, there is something wrong with my lungs, there is something wrong with my scalp, there is something wrong with my colon, there is something wrong with my kidneys, there is something wrong with my thyroid, there is something wrong with my eyes, there is something wrong with my teeth, there is something wrong with my gums, there is something wrong with my feet, there is something wrong with my bladder, there is something wrong with my fingernails, there is something wrong with my skin. I am racked with pain from head to toe. I can’t move a muscle without my body telling me there is something wrong somewhere.

I looked up videos and testimony from soldiers that were exposed to depleted uranium in the middle east. They had virtually identical symptoms as I had, kidney and skin problems, and cognitive problems, including amnesia. I attributed it to uranium poisoning from a plume from Japan, containing Fukushima radionuclides and uranium from an explosion at a Japanese chemical plant.

Now, with this new information at hand, I believe that the round of symptoms in early May were caused by a plume from Japan. The later escalation of symptoms could better be explained from the uranium hexafluoride release from Honeywell Metropolis Works on May 14, and especially the one on May 30.

There is the kidney damage from soluble uranyl fluoride, and the skin damage triggered from hydrofluoric acid. Plus a host of other things. The release was stated to be 21 pounds in the NRC document. I believe it was much more. The 1986 Oklahoma incident involved 29,000 pounds.

HIGH RADIATION READINGS IN THE PLUME AREA

Potrblog noted elevated radiation readings in his blog around this time. St. Louis is in the affected area:

!MAXIMUM ALERT! AIRBORNE RADIOACTIVITY 5 TIMES GREATER THAN BACKGROUND RADIATION in Saint Louis @ 4:39 pm 6/4/12

We noticed elevated AIRBORNE radioactivity after a super cell thunder storm moved near our location. The heaviest part of the storm had passed approximately 15 minutes prior to the readings you will see in the video.

These are the highest airborne radioactivity readings we have ever measured in Saint Louis.

There was also a high radiation event in South Bend, Indiana around this time. This is also in the affected area. It is possible that these radiation anomalies were from Fukushima, but they could also have come from Honeywell, or both. It is hard to know. But it cannot be said that there weren’t elevated readings at that time.

The mysterious and strange things that went on at the Honeywell plant, the NRC, and the background politics of the issue will be described in Part 2 of this post.

UPDATE: I have included this excellent talk by Dr. Doug Rokke, the former head of the Pentagon’s depleted uranium project. The symptoms described here are identical those who suffer from exposure to depleted uranium in the middle east, except that there is the additional poison, hydrofluoric acid, involved.

Talk – Dr. Doug Rokke – Depleted Uranium (DU)