Ron DeSantis signs bill that allows Florida to build roads with radioactive waste

It says hypothesis, so Republicans will treat it as proven science because “It’s not a theory”.


D’oh how could I forget radon ‘therapy’???


JFC, he just gets worse and worse by the minute. F this a-hole.


Pedro Laughing GIF by Brand MKRS creative agency


This is probably slightly less terrible than his usual crimes against humanity (there is a reason why there are red flag alerts being issued by LGBTQIA+ and genocide prevention organisations), but it’s still terrible and it does directly affect everyone for a change.


I’ve got this sinking suspicion that they won’t turn the whole state into a future superfund site. I’m guessing the use of this material will be restricted in redder, wealthier areas.


I think you’ve got that backwards. If it is approved for use it’s far more likely to be used in less red and low income areas. Though I imagine how red the area is doesn’t really matter to the GoP, they’re always fine with fucking over their base.

Edit: Fuck, I read your comment wrong, looks like we’re mostly in agreement.


The newest Disney Light Show will be the highway on the drive in.


Meh. Asphalt is basically a mix of rocks and bitumen; compact it for road use, and it should hold on to the bulk of the radon as it’s produced long enough for it to decay. And since radon is an alpha emitter, it’s absolutely disastrous inside your lungs–but can’t do much of anything on the outside of your skin. (Here, inside the road counts as outside your skin.)

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a giveaway to the fertilizer industry, But as radiation hazards go, this isn’t much of one.

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No worries—I internally debated my wording. For clarity, I probably should have gone with where I fear it will be targeted for use instead.

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(at :40)

This has been the GOP’s environmental plans the past few year so i’m not shocked. I’m not even joking.


I am not a materials scientist or engineer. But doesn’t use of a road scrape up small particles of the asphalt? That are then floating around ready to be inhaled? And will the asphalt retain all the radioactive substances when it rains or will some end up in the run off? The run-off that ends up in creeks, rivers, home wells, reservoirs used for drinking, and eventually the sea? Where people will end up drinking it in their water or eating it in their fish? Then it’s in their stomaches. Not outside their skin.

I see roads crumbling all the time. I have absolutely no faith the asphalt mix will hold onto the toxic substances where it crumbles at the edges or gets scraped by various metal bits from cars and trucks or even tires.

The feasibility study certainly won’t answer these questions. We’ll only have the answer in 2 decades when an entire generation of Floridians are showing extremely high cancer rates.

I think purposefully putting any radioactive substance into the environment is incredibly stupid. We have enough carcinogens.


And I forgot this part- what about the pure stuff that escapes during the asphalt mixing? While it is being transferred to where it is mixed? The more the pure stuff is moved around, the more spills and releases. I doubt the workers doing the mixing are going to be offered quality respirators either.


This is the part that stands out, for me. So many other hazardous materials - asbestos, radium, etc - were a hazard orders of magnitude greater to the people working in assembly and construction than the average user of the product (who weren’t immune either).


About all I can do is point at the Wikipedia page for radon and say “Have fun.” It’s produced by rocks–notably the thousands of square kilometers of granite that make up the continents–and only accumulates to hazardous levels when there’s low air exchange. That happens in basements, which is why we have radon detection and mediation programs. There’s no reason to believe it’ll accumulate near roads, which are ordinarily in the open air–even if the roads wore away ten times as fast as they do.


The article says radon, uranium, and radium. You’re only talking about the first, but what about the other two?


It’s not really as radioactive as people think. According to Brian Dunning o f the Skeptoid podcast “Depending where it comes from, phosphogypsum emits anywhere from 5 to 35 pCi/g (picocuries per gram) of radiation. This is the same range as ceramic tiles. If you have ceramic tiles in your home, you should have no concerns about flooring your home with phosphogypsum.”


Uranium has such a long half-life, it hardly emits any energy per gram at all; you’re more at threat from its chemical properties as a (weird) heavy metal than its radioactivity. (Its emissions are so low and so low energy, main battle tanks with depleted uranium armor are also using it for radiation SHIELDING.) Radium is nastier, but since it itself is a daughter product of uranium, there’s never very much of it around. And if it IS around, it usually stays where it is… until it decays into radon, at which point it might be able to get moving and get into you. This is the relevant diagram to know:

As you’d expect, some radioactive materials are more dangerous than others. We talk about radon so much because (A) the accursed stuff is a noble gas, which will happily get into the air where it can get sucked into your lungs, and an alpha emitter inside your lungs is a shortcut to lung cancer, and (B) it’s monatomic, so unlike radioactive dusts, there’s no internal shielding within the radioactive material itself to stop the alpha particle before it hits you. That makes it more dangerous in small quantities than the stuff it’s formed from.


Okay. You go roll around in it, and report back in a few years and tell us about your cancers…

I saw an MIT lecture about Chernobyl on YouTube, and the prof asked the class about alpha, beta, and gamma emitters. Outside the body, alpha and beta emitters can be shielded by cardboard or clothing, and they don’t get far into bare skin. Gamma rays, of course, pass through most kinds of shielding that weren’t purpose-built.

Before this lecture I hadn’t considered what happens once they’re inside a body, where there is no shielding. I’d always thought of gamma emitters as “the dangerous one”, and alpha and beta as “not great, but don’t freak out”. But after ingestion, the gamma rays pass straight out from a body, mostly undisturbed. The alpha and beta emitters have all their energy absorbed by your cells. As the prof put it, “Imagine there are three cookies on a plate, one with alpha emitters, one with beta emitters, and one with gamma emitters. If you don’t have to eat any of them, avoid standing next to the gamma cookie. If you must eat one, eat the gamma cookie.”