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Phosphate coverage appreciated by reader

Published By: Sun Herald


I wish to congratulate the Sun for it's integrity and honesty in presenting the true facts concerning the phosphate industry and the excellent reporting by staff writer Greg Martin.

My interest goes back to 1992 when, as a member of the North Port Environmental Group, we gathered 20,000 signatures petitioning the CMI Phosphate mining proposal. At that time, I wrote to Gov. Lawton Chiles regarding the specific dangers posed by phosphate mining.

As Greg Martin correctly points out, "Phosphate mining increases the levels of radioactivity of the mined land," according to officials with the Florida Department of Health.

'"What remains debatable, however, is how much the higher radiation levels increase risks to human health and whether these risks will someday necessitate remedial actions," said John Williamson.

An answer to that very question is this quote from my letter to the late Gov. Chiles, "I was told by my friend, a former technician, that it takes 1,700 years for radium to be dissipated by only one half its volume."

If there was a ton of radium, only one half its volume would be dissipated in 1,700 years, and the rest would remain in the ground.

The argument by CMI in 1992 was the industry would create jobs. What good is a job if you are to be poisoned by your drinking water and the residue remains in the air? As Dr. William Eaton stated, "This condition will cause leukemia."

Dorothy Senior

North Port

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