Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
Radioisotopes are used for a variety of diagnostic tests in medicine. Now D Murnick of Rutgers University, USA, and colleagues have pioneered the use of stable isotopes -- those that are not radioactive -- as a tracer in medicine. One application is the development of a fast, inexpensive and safe test for ulcer causing bacteria in the stomach. The patient is fed a small amount of urea that is labelled with carbon-13. The bacteria, if present, breaks the urea to ammonia and carbon dioxide, with the carbon dioxide containing carbon-13 together with the more common carbon-12 isotope. The patient's breath is then fed into a chamber where laser light, tuned specifically to a frequency which excites the carbon-13 to a higher state to shine. This changes the conductivity in the chamber and by monitoring the current, the researchers can get an idea of the amount of carbon-13 in the breath. With proper standardisation, this can then tell the physician about the presence of the ulcer causing bacteria in the stomach.