Posts Tagged ‘Acid’

In September 2000 the Department of Health legislated regulations in respect of the fluoridation of potable water in South Africa. The regulation indicated that water service providers are obliged to fluoridate water to a concentration level of up to 0.7 mg F/litre as of September 2002. This legislation was initiated in a bid to stop tooth decay, especially in young children despite the fact that there remains little evidence proving that fluoride in water minimizes tooth decay. Some consider this act as being unconstitutional because consumers of water in the population are not consulted in this matter and the resulting accusations are that of forced medication.

Fluoride is used as an insect and cockroach killer. As little as one-tenth of an ounce of fluoride will cause death. It is more poisonous than lead and just slightly less poisonous than arsenic. A glass of fluoridated water will not cause immediate death but concerns rest in the long term effects of the chemical on the body. An increase in fluoride levels in the tissues and organs of the body results in a wide range of chronic diseases. Birth defects, genetic damage and cancer are the most worrying long term effects of fluoride. Other effects include the aggravation of kidney disease, diabetes and hypothyroidism. Multiple scientific studies have proved the link between increases in the concentration of fluoride and carcinogenic tumour growth. A study in 1975 based around millions of subjects revealed a 5 to 10% increase in cancer death rate within three to five years after fluoridation was put into the water.  Ten years later, Proctor and Gamble, makers of Crest toothpaste found that fluoride was causing precarcinogenic changes in cells.

Substances like fluoride which cause genetic damage are called mutagenic substances and it is a well-accepted fact that substances which are mutagenic also tend to be carcinogenic, or cancer producing.  In fact, this is exactly what has been found with regard to fluoride.

During World War II hundreds of thousands of innocents were exterminated in concentration camps in Russia and Germany. Nazi scientists keen on controlling the behaviour of camp inmates experimented with fluoride.  Repeated doses of very small amounts of fluoride were discovered to affect the brain, slowly poisoning and narcotizing people, making them submissive.  Eager to exploit the effects of the drug, both German and Russian camp commanders added fluoride to water supplies. The German chemical manufacturing giant I.G. Farben became responsible for mass producing fluoride for the death camps and other possible future uses. Today over 60 tranquilizers on the market contain fluoride. Strong tranquilizers like Rohypnol and Stelazine are highly fluoridated and like the majority of brands in the market they are produced by I.G. Farben and its subsidiaries (Roche products being one of them).

American soldiers entering Germany at the end of the war made the liberating of prisoners of war at concentration camps a priority. At camp after camp, they found stockpiles of fluoride stored near the water supply. When they asked what the fluoride was used for, they were told that the Nazi Germans used the substance as an additive to the prisoner’s water, to make them docile. This is the first known incidence of intentionally fluoridating drinking water.

Fluoride is an industrial waste product, a by-product of the aluminum industry and the phosphate fertilizer companies. Historically, this substance was quite expensive for chemical companies to dispose of. They had vast amounts of the by-product and they had to get rid of it, the companies decided to do this by convincing governments of the benefits of diluting the waste inside our water.

The dangers of fluoride inhalation are exhibited by people living in the vicinity of aluminum, phosphate, steel, clay, glass and enamel plants who are exposed to high levels of fluoride in the air. These areas show extremely high lung cancer rates that decrease as you get away from the downwind plume of the steel mills. If fluoride was left with the phosphate and sold to farmers, it would kill their crops.

The Pelindaba nuclear/chemical complex, is set to become the major supplier of hundreds of tons of fluoride which will be added to drinking water throughout the country from next year. What is even more intriguing is that this specific nuclear/chemical complex was set up by the apartheid government in the 1960s to produce atomic bombs and enriched uranium fuel.

In addition to these shocking facts it has been further discovered by fluoride researcher Ian E. Stephens that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tripled the water-fluoridation budget in Northern Ireland during the mid 80’s. Stephens speculated that this was not motivated by concern for dental health, but an attempt to pacify political activists in the area. It is no secret that Thatcher opposed sanctions on apartheid South Africa and publicly condemned ANC members as terrorists.

During the past 10 years South African water boards and Rand Water specifically have been making submissions to government ministries. These submissions center around acquiring indemnity from the Department of Health against any claims arising from the fluoridation of water giving rise to possible health implications on individuals or impact on the environment. The Department of Health has responded that any claims regarding possible health implications or impact on the environment on industrial water users must be made against the Minister of Health. In this way the water boards will not be found liable should any claims arise from the fluoridated water.

The majority of countries in the world have objected to the fluoridation of their water. Many European countries have spearheaded powerful campaigns curtailing and ending government implementation of fluoridated water.  Among developed countries, the United States of America remains one of the last countries still allowing the fluoridation of their water supply. In addition to the numerous scholars who object to water fluoridation, 14 Nobel Prize winners who were awarded Nobel prizes, some in Chemistry and others in Medicine, have objected to fluoridation. 

The public is uneducated in terms of this issue. For what other reason would the population be quiet when they are being fed rat/cockroach poison in their water? The multiple chronic diseases and adverse long-term effects associated with fluoride should be enough to create uproar against the implementing of the substance in potable water. Levels in rural areas have been found to be far above what is considered a safe level. How will the increased acidity already identified in the water, mix with the toxic fluoride, and what will be the consequence for those who drink it?

Not only has fluoride been confirmed as being linked to cancer but it also mutates genetic structure. Even more disturbing is the fact that fluoride was one of the most used chemicals by Nazi Germany who used the chemical to subdue prisoners in concentration camps by putting it into the drinking water. This is compounded by the discovery that the Pelindaba nuclear/chemical complex set up by the apartheid government will be supplying us with our fluoride. The company Pelchem, located in Pelindaba, stands to boost its annual revenue of about R130 million by at least 10% if it corners the local water fluoridation market.

Why have South African water boards been so adamant about acquiring indemnity from health and environmental impacts relating to fluoride? This surely posits as evidence that they are aware that fluoride is not a safe substance for human ingestion. It is unusual for a government to agree to carry the liabilities of a company. Yet, in this instance this is the case. What are the motivations behind government’s strong support for the fluoridation of South Africa’s water? Even prestigious Nobel Prize winners have stood up against it. Do these doctors, chemists and scientists not carry enough authority to dissuade us away from this mass poisoning? If they cannot convince us, who can?….

Secret South Africa has published a number of posts about the Acid Water Crisis that is threatening the city of Joburg. But in addition to the Acid Water, it seems that there is something else that South Africans should be worried about.

According to an article published by The Saturday Star on August 7th, two of South Africa’s mining giants, Rand Uranium and Gold Fields are planning to create major toxic and radioactive super-dumps. The mining companies are planning to create the two super-dumps near farming communities in the high-yield agricultural area near Carletonville and Geluksdal.

According to The Saturday Star, the combined of the dumps would result in a deposit of around one billion tons of uraniferous tailings. Yes, you read correctly. One BILLION TONS of uraniferous tailings. Investigations around uraniferous tailings have concluded that they transfer radio nuclides to nearby vegetation which is extremely unhealthy for humans.

Not only do these dumps affect vegetation, toxic and radioactive pollutants also seep into groundwater sources. This could only add to the heavy metals such as uranium and sulphates have been found in high concentration in the acid water underneath Johannesburg.

After 120 years of gold mining in Gauteng’s West Rand, the area has become one of the country’s most polluted areas and a serious public health risk. The new plans to create additional dumps is a concern for local farmers. So much so that emerging black farmers, the Mhatammoho Agricultural Union, and the potentially affected landowners organized a second protest in April citing the fact that the community was never consulted about creation of new mine dumps.

And it seems as if they have just cause. The have been numerous reports that the mines in the area have had an overwhelmingly negative effect on local water supplies. Fish in nearby water sources in the area have been found dead and residents have also reported breaking out into vicious rashes after wearing clothes that had been washed in local water. Farmers have also noticed the livestock, particularly chickens, have been dying at an abnormal rate. It is clear that the radioactivity contained in the waste is not conductive to sustaining animal and human life. Special Assignment covered this issue and you can see their report here.  Clearly, the creation of more super-dumps would only make the situation worse.

The surrounding areas have been subject to over a century’s worth of toxic mining waste. What other effects has this had of the local communities? We only know what has been uncovered but how many stories have yet to be told?

How will South Africa’s toxic and radioactive materials physically affect our population. The long-term effects cannot be good. Why is government making no significant inroads towards legislation protecting our water and agriculture from greedy mining companies?

I’ve been following the progress of the Acid Water Crisis that is brewing beneath the city of Joburg and I came across an interesting article published in this week’s Saturday Star, written by Sheree Bega.

The article featured an interview with Professor Terence McCarthy from the school of Geosciences at Wits University.

Currently the acid water is now 530m below Johannesburg and is still rising at a rate of about 60cm a day. McCarthy has warned that if the water reaches the surface, basements in the inner city, including building belonging to Standard Bank, could begin to flood. In addition to this, Gold Reef City could also potentially lose their underground mine to the acid water.

But McCarthy is also worried about another unforeseen consequence of the acid water. There are currently a series of underground tunnels that house Johannesburg’s electricity cables. The acid water contains high levels of heavy metal, including uranium and sulphates. And if the tunnels below Johannesburg flood with corrosive water, the entire city could be plunged into darkness.

McCarthy stated that none of the mining companies will step up to take responsibility. It will then be up to the government, who are the largest beneficiary of mining in South Africa according to McCarthy, to take action.

It seems that the water crisis is getting worse and no one is doing anything about it.

I think action needs to be taken. What do you think?

If you thought there was more behind the current acid water crisis that is brewing beneath the city of Joburg, then you’re right.

I was shocked to find an article from IOL about Aurora Empowerment Systems and a group of unpaid miners that was published over a month ago.

The miners claim that they are the victims of “mining genocide” after more than 100 miners continued to maintain the now suspended Grootvlei mine for several months without pay.

Aurora Empowerment Systems is run by relatives of both President Jacob Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela, and according to the IOL article, is reportedly bankrupt. Aurora retained certain workers to create a care-and-maintenance team when it stopped operations at the Springs mine in March following protests by more than 2 000 mineworkers over unpaid salaries.

According to the article, the workers described their situation as mining genocide because the government is aware of the crisis at Aurora, but failed to take action against the company.

Grootvlei is the last pump station in operation in Ekurhuleni, and its flooding could permanently destroy the mine, but also ultimately unleash a toxic tide of radioactive acid mine water on the surface within the next four years.

Workers at the mine continued to work without pay because of their duty to prevent a catastrophe, but said they had not been paid for four months and were tired of empty promises.

The Department of Water Affairs has already hit Aurora with criminal charges for failing to treat 108 million litres of acid mine water discharged daily into the protected Blesbokspruit wetland system for several months. This water flows into the protected Marievale Bird Sanctuary, and reaches the Vaal River.

The toxic, radioactive water is loaded with sulphates, heavy metals such as manganese, and iron.

IOL reported that Lawyers for Human Rights visited Grootvlei on a fact-finding mission where hundreds of unpaid mineworkers, mostly foreigners, were living in its hostels without access to food, electricity and clean water because of Aurora’s R100 million debt to creditors of Grootvlei.

According to an article published by the Business Report earlier this month, Aurora has managed to secure R50 million from Global Emerging Markets(GEM) to cover their short term needs.

Aurora, whose managing director is Zondwa Mandela, a grandson of Nelson Mandela, and whose chairman Khulubuse Zuma is President Zuma’s nephew, is now apparently treating the water following the notice of criminal charges.

Is the government more closely linked to the acid water crisis than they would have us believe?

Is there a modern day conspiracy bubbling beneath the streets of Joburg?

More on this story as it happens…

State of Emergency?

Posted: July 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Here is a quick update about the Acid Water Crisis that rocked Joburg last week.

Jaco Mulder, the Freedom Front Plus spokesperson on water and environmental affairs, says that Joburg’s acid water crisis should be treated as a state of emergency.

According to an article published by News24, Mulder stated that the true extent of the crisis was greater than the attention it was being given, despite welcoming the fact that the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has started to take legal action against certain mining companies.

Mulder predicted that without the proper communication and cooperation between local, provincial and national governments, the current situation could quickly transform into a “national water disaster”.

Is the government doing enough to address the crisis? Personally, I think they should be doing more to protect the millions of people that will ultimately be affected by the acid water across South Africa.

I’ll bring you more details about the crisis as soon as I find them.

It’s less than a day since the launch of Secret South Africa and a massive story is breaking beneath Johannesburg.

Joburg woke up today, only to find that millions of litres of highly acidic mine water is rising up under the city, and  if left unchecked, could spill out into the streets in less than 18 months. If the acid water rose to the surface, it could pose a serious threat to the city’s inhabitants, its buildings and the surrounding environment.

Currently the acid water is situated about 600m below the city’s surface, but it is rising at a rate of between 0.6 and 0.9m a day.

The acid water is formed when it oxidises with the sulphide mineral iron pyrite, better known as fool’s gold, and tarts to seep into the surrounding ground.

In 2002, acid mine drainage started decanting from the Western Basin, located below the Krugersdorp-Randfontein area. The outflow grew worse earlier this year after heavy rains. When government attempted to neutralise the acid water by pouring tons of lime into the Tweelopies Spruit, a thick sludge was formed in the water.

The problem of acid water is not new. According to Leadership, Joburg’s Western Basin was flooded in 2002 and 2005 by acid mine water and that transformed the Tweelopiespruit into a class-5 toxic river. The Robinson Lake became a radioactive dam with uranium levels of 40 000 above background or natural uranium levels.

According to The Times, many RDP houses are being erected next to radioactive dumps. Many of Gauteng’s poorer communities live alongside, or on top of, land contaminated by mining activities. These people are exposed to high concentrations of cobalt, zinc, arsenic, and cadmium, all known carcinogens, as well as high levels of radioactive uranium.

This makes you wonder. How safe is South Africa’s water supply and how easily could it be compromised?

Is Johannesburg’s acid water problem merely the result of bad management? Or maybe the real reason is something completely different…

We should be worried that our mines are have been producing radioactive material for nearly ten years. And we should be even more worried that the government has done little to rectify the situation.

What is really happening behind the scenes?

What do you think?