Fly Ash is radioactive?

Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: av8r On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:14 pm

This may be old news, but seeing as most of us are handling and breathing higher than normal concentrations of fly ash then the average person, we should all be aware of what is in that ash. Using some type of breathing filter when dumping ash wouldn't be a bad idea, IMO.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... lear-waste

http://www.wwdmag.com/EPA-Reviewing-Can ... Piece14294
Last edited by Richard S. on Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: <removed dead links>
av8r
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:06 pm

You are comparing apples to oranges. The fly ash in the referenced links are all from bituminous coal burning electric power plants. Most of us are burning Anthracite coal. Power plants have huge boilers with automated control systems and burn characteristics much different than our low temperature stoves, furnaces and boilers. You can not assume the ash produced by both are the same. I know of no data on the hazards of fly ash created by Anthracite residential coal burning.

That said I do use a cartridge type respirator when loading coal or emptying ashes. I like to error on the side of caution.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: e.alleg On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:08 pm

ana Christensen, associate lab director for energy and engineering at ORNL, says that health risks from radiation in coal by-products are low. "Other risks like being hit by lightning," he adds, "are three or four times greater than radiation-induced health effects from coal plants." And McBride and his co-authors emphasize that other products of coal power, like emissions of acid rain–producing sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrous oxide, pose greater health risks than radiation.


I would say that one McDonald's meal will shorten your life more than a year worth of dumping the ash pan will.
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: SuperBeetle On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:40 pm

e.alleg wrote:
I would say that one McDonald's meal will shorten your life more than a year worth of dumping the ash pan will.


I just finished my lunch from McDonald's :sick:
SuperBeetle
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: av8r On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:45 pm

Yanche wrote:You are comparing apples to oranges. The fly ash in the referenced links are all from bituminous coal burning electric power plants. Most of us are burning Anthracite coal. Power plants have huge boilers with automated control systems and burn characteristics much different than our low temperature stoves, furnaces and boilers. You can not assume the ash produced by both are the same. I know of no data on the hazards of fly ash created by Anthracite residential coal burning.

That said I do use a cartridge type respirator when loading coal or emptying ashes. I like to error on the side of caution.


Not saying you don't know what you're talking about, but can you link me to resources that prove what you theorize?

edit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_ash
av8r
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: spc On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:59 pm

I would like to see a study that shows anthracite coal burning fly ash is radioactive.
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:35 pm

It has about the same radioactivity as the concrete or bricks in your home IIRC.
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: av8r On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:40 pm

spc wrote:I would like to see a study that shows anthracite coal burning fly ash is radioactive.

Me too, but in lieu of that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal

and more specifically:

"Coal and coal waste products including fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag, contain many heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, nickel, sulphur, vanadium, beryllium, cadmium, barium, chromium, copper, molybdenum, zinc, selenium and radium, which are dangerous if released into the environment. Coal also contains low levels of uranium, thorium, and other naturally-occurring radioactive isotopes whose release into the environment may lead to radioactive contamination.[14][15] While these substances are trace impurities, enough coal is burned that significant amounts of these substances are released, resulting in more radioactive waste than nuclear power plants.[16] Mercury emissions from coal burning are concentrated as they work their way up the food chain and converted into dangerous biological compounds that have made it dangerous to eat fish from many waterways of the world.[17][18]"

There is no distiction made between the types of coal when radioactivity and heavy metals are mentioned. From what I understand, which is rudimentary at best, the main difference in coal types are the content of volatile materials. The source of the radioactivity isn't coming from volatiles so if you take the logical path here, it seems that "coal" is radioactive...period.

Not trying to stir anything here, just found this interesting and perhaps of concern to some folks.

coaledsweat wrote:It has about the same radioactivity as the concrete or bricks in your home IIRC.


Are you assuming that the bricks or concrete were made with fly ash as one of the ingredients?
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: Berlin On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:57 pm

"Are you assuming that the bricks or concrete were made with fly ash as one of the ingredients?"

no! it doesn't have to be, when's the last time you researched the radioactivity of common household building materials, dirt or miscilaneous items?? i suggest you do it so as not to scare yourself and everyone else about the mythological dangers of coalash. :?

btw, when's the last time you checked your house for radon??
Berlin
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:18 pm

Everything carries a certain amount of radiation, rocks, trees, water, the foods you eat and you. Bricks and concrete carry it too.
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: Dallas On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:20 pm

Just a quick little tale:

For about 4 -5 years, I've been trying to diagnose a heath problem .. several problems, and they keep getting worse or more! I've had hay fever and other allergies for most of my life.

I've had reoccurring bouts with water filled blisters/pimples on my scalp. I've had "nearly" diarrhea, I've become allergic to more foods, my body has become inflexible, I've developed symptoms of asthma and my skin has been itchy. After eliminating a bunch of foods, etc., plus I had looked at creosote smell and smoke from my stove, as well as the old furnace with cracked heat exchanger and the added basement insulation as possible problems, I've come to a conclusion.

....... While I've had metal partial dentures for 40 years, I've gotten some new ones in the last 5 years. These are made of chromium, cobalt and molybdenum. Even though nickel isn't listed, it's always found in cobalt, and is a prime allergen. Most people wouldn't have any trouble with these dentures, on the other hand I do. (I think! .... the jury is still out.)

I'd worry more about my teeth or fillings, than coal.
Dallas
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: av8r On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:23 pm

Berlin wrote:"Are you assuming that the bricks or concrete were made with fly ash as one of the ingredients?"

no! it doesn't have to be, when's the last time you researched the radioactivity of common household building materials, dirt or miscilaneous items?? i suggest you do it so as not to scare yourself and everyone else about the mythological dangers of coalash. :?

btw, when's the last time you checked your house for radon??


I installed a Radon mitigation system (sub-slab depressurization) 9 years ago in my place. Pretty simple to do and cheap if you're not paying a contractor. House inspector's tests were fine, but subsequent tests showed levels well beyond what is considered allowable. I have children so it made sense to err on the side of caution, especially when it cost me under $300.

I understand that everything we touch, see, breathe and eat has a radio footprint. My thoughts are that many of us may be blissfully unaware that the dust that we're breathing may have hazards beyond what we recognize. Some folks may want to take simple precautions when emptying the ash pan. I hadn't up to this point and have managed to suck in plenty of that foul tasting stuff. I'll wear a cartridge mask from now on just to be a bit more cautious. Each person has their own tolerance for what they feel is an allowable level of threat vs the effort to mitigate that threat. I won't presume to push my level onto anyone else.

My perspective may be skewed by the fact that 2.5 yrs ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer...on our 10th anniversary no less. Having gone through Chemo, surgery and the psychological aspects of cancer has caused me to give a little more attention to areas where I can (hopefully) take steps to protect myself and my family from going through that again. So, unless you or someone else has something that says the dangers of coal ash are "mythological", I think a little caution or at least education, may be warranted.

Ignorance isn't bliss.
av8r
 
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: spc On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:20 pm

If we all just use some common sense we will live a healthier life.
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: mwcougar On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:08 pm

working for one of the largest chemical companies in the world that preaches and for the most part lives.. safety first. I do most of the time were a dust mask and or a resperator most of the time when handing coal ash. like some of the people on here know.. after being through PSM, right to know, and other trainings... any household items if you read a MSDA sheet on it would scare the $hit out of you. any dust being breathed in over a length of time is not good for you . just use common sense. and yes your concrete might have fly ash in it from a powerplant. makes concrete stronger. for fun you should read a MSDS sheet on plain sand..... will scare you.....

cougar
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Re: Fly Ash is radioactive?

PostBy: cArNaGe On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:40 pm

Av8r wears a dust mask while cutting grass also!

Wimp!
cArNaGe