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Research Projects

Cadmium and Uranium Project

Cadmium and Uranium Project

About 400 000 people live in the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment Area which stretch South-West from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom. These people are exposed to cadmium and other heavy metals such as uranium which is a byproduct of gold mining in the area. Cadmium exposure has been linked to cancers of the lung, breast, pancreas, kidney and urinary bladder.

What is Uranium?

When refined, uranium is a silvery white, weakly radioactive metal, which is slightly softer than steel, strongly electropositive and a poor electrical conductor. It is malleable, ductile, and slightly paramagnetic. Uranium metal has very high density, being approximately 70% more dense than lead, but slightly less dense than gold.

Fact sheet on Uranium

Download the fact sheet on Uranium.

What is Cadmium?

Cadmium is an odourless, silver-white, blue-tinged malleable metal or grayish-white powder. Cadmium salts could be formed in acidic slime dams and tailings of the goldmines, enter the irrigation systems and end up by contaminating food eaten by the people living in the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment Area.

Fact sheet on Cadmium

Download the fact sheet on cadmium.

Progress made by us

We have become more involved in the mining pollution stretching from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom. Research is being focused on cancer epidemiology in Randfontein and Carletonville where we have a presence and render services to cancer patients. Cancer patient registries are being compiled and cancer mortality data are being sought from STATS SA. On the ground, soil samples are being taken and analysed. Overall, we have the objective to determine, on the basis of scientific evidence, whether people living in Randfontein and Carletonville are exposed to an increased cancer risk.

  • Contact Dr Carl Albrecht, Head of Research for more information here.


Get involved

  • Ask a question or make a comment regarding our research in the box at the bottom of this page.
  • Click here to make a secure online donation to support this research project or make a direct deposit to ABSA Bank, Account: CANSA Research, number: 4079965964, Branch: 632005, Reference: Type B Research – Cadmium & Uranium Project.
  • Read more about CANSA research here.


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