Uranium contamination shown in urinalysis
DeMint's office considers level of radioactivity seen in test results alarming
Associated Press

COLUMBIA -- Urinalysis from 94 Simpsonville-Fountain Inn area residents who had uranium contamination in their wells has shown elevated levels of the metal, state officials reported Thursday.

But Jason Elliott, an aide to U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said Wednesday the state and federal tests showed the level of radioactivity was alarming.

Thom Berry, state Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman, did not immediately return a phone call for comment Thursday.

Uranium, formed from radium, can occur naturally and is a radioactive heavy metal. Prolonged exposure to uranium can cause kidney problems or cancer. Radium can also result in anemia, cataracts and fractured teeth, according to the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry.

DHEC said test results for 105 people were sent to them this week.

Elliot would not reveal the names of those affected or the number of households involved.

The findings were released by state DHEC and federal Environmental Protection Agency officials after analysis, said Elliott.

DHEC said it will have two public meetings in the Simpsonville-Fountain Inn areas July 24 to provide the latest information about uranium in the area's ground water.

Uranium was found in the area's wells seven months ago, but DHEC said in March that after testing water from 11 wells, the amounts were safely within what is considered safe for drinking water.