Dating uranium 238
The water-solubility of a uranium compound determines its mobility in the environment, as well as its toxicity.
While uranium itself is not particularly dangerous, some of its decay products do pose a threat, expecially radon, which can build up in confined spaces such as basements.
Uranium in air exists as dust that will fall into surface water, on plants or on soils through settling or rainfall.
It will than sink to the sediment in water or to the lower soil layers, where it will mix with uranium that is already present.
When people are exposed to uranium radionuclides that are formed during radioactive decay for a long period of time, they may develop cancer.
The chances of getting cancer are much higher when people are exposed to enriched uranium, because that is a more radioactive form of uranium.
In air it is coated by uranium oxide, tarnishing rapidly. Uranium can form solids solutions and intermetallic compounds with many of the metals.
People always experience exposure to a certain amount of uranium from food, air, soil and water, as it is naturally present in all these components.