Uranium (U) in the hair typically reflects levels of U in other tissues in the body. But the hair may be externally contaminated by shampoos or hair products that contain U.
U is very abundant in rock, particularly granite. U is present in ground (drinking) water, root vegetables, and in high phosphate fertilizers.
Sources of U include:
- some colored glass
- many household products
- uranyl acetate (negative stain used in biology slides)
- weaponry – bullets and missile heads
- nuclear power plants
Uranyl compounds bind easily to proteins, nucleotides, and bone where it substitutes for calcium. Little research has been done, but it appears that U exposure correlates with all forms of cancer. The kidney and bones are primary sites for U accumulation. U is rapidly cleared from the blood and deposited in tissues.
All isotopes of U are radioactive. U238 is the most abundant and lowest energy transmitter. The Soviets began using ingestible French Green Clay in the 1980s as an form of U removal from the body. To date, the former Soviet nuclear power plant Chernobyl is buried under a landfill of French Green Clay used to absorb the radiation from its meltdown in the 1980s.