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GeneralCan fluorite be dangerous ?

7th Oct 2019 22:35 BSTGorge Jones


i was on vacation in Czech Republic. With my friends i visit one location (dont remember the name) and we found some really nice fluorites with dark purple color. Peter told me, that this mineral can be slightly radioctive... on the same location we found barites either. So here is my question: Can be this fluorite dangerous ? I think it can be ok but im unsure about this and i cant trust my friends cuz they are crazy (they will be ok with uraninite under the bed).

Thank you for answers.

7th Oct 2019 23:11 BSTGareth Evans

Hello Gorge: 

Radiation, its effects and its dangers, is one of the most misunderstood topics in science. Your body produces every minute more radiation than will ever emanate from your Fluorite crystal. You will also get a high dose of cosmic rays every time you fly in a commercial aircraft. Beneath your feet inside the aircraft will be a very large mass of depleted uranium. Depleted Uranium is used as ballast in preference to lead. Many elevator systems now use depleted uranium, again in preference to lead. 


8th Oct 2019 02:47 BSTErin Delventhal Manager

Exposure to radiation can often be associated with the mechanism of coloration in fluorite, but I have never heard of any remaining radiation coming from the fluorites themselves in these cases.

8th Oct 2019 04:05 BSTGareth Evans

I have posted above a table showing just how radioactive the average living human can be, assuming they weigh about 75 kilograms. In the table 1Bq represents 1 radioactive disintegration per second. You will always be more radioactive than your fluorite, perhaps even more radioactive than some low grade uranium ore. 

My question is why were you never told this fact? 

The phobia associated with low level radiation is killing a bright and wonderful future that nature could give mankind. A greener future based on one of the most abundant radioactive elements in nature – Thorium. If you were a pious person you would conclude that Thorium is a gift from God! It is only unfounded fear that is holding this potential back.

8th Oct 2019 06:40 BSTFranz Bernhard Expert

Gareth Evans  ✉️

The phobia associated with low level radiation is killing a bright and wonderful future that nature could give mankind. A greener future based on one of the most abundant radioactive elements in nature – Thorium. If you were a pious person you would conclude that Thorium is a gift from God! It is only unfounded fear that is holding this potential back.
Please present the facts behind this opinion!
Many thanks!
Franz Bernhard

8th Oct 2019 21:26 BSTRalph Bottrill Manager

Quite correct Gareth, I always enjoy telling people that they are radioactive, have thousands of asbestos fibres in their lungs and lots of toxic elements in our bodies, and watch them freak out! Our bodies are very resilient unless exposed to extremes.

8th Oct 2019 22:12 BSTGareth Evans

Dear Franz: 

What do you want? Scientific Facts. The fear of things - clinical psychology and psychiatry. I can supply links to all, but I am especially interested in the psychology of fear. If you can get enough people scared you can completely destroy a society, but you can also destroy a society by brainwashing enough people too.  

It is for these reasons and others too that I am pro-Thorium and I do not believe in anthropogenic global-warming. And before the keyboard warriors start plotting my doom, understand that nothing you say will convince me. Both subjects are underpinned by fear and politics – not science. 

It is noteworthy that both China and India are building more coal fired power plants. So nothing we do in the west will matter unless China and India stop what they are planning to do.I suspect the Chinese and the Indians know more about the causes or lack thereof of global warming than we do. 

I have drifted a little but all comes under the general heading of the psychology of fear – Stalin was perhaps its greatest proponent. 

I wish I could own a large ingot of Thorium and Uranium – 15 kilograms each, polished and contained in an argon atmosphere so I could admire the beauty that these element possess. 


9th Oct 2019 06:50 BSTFranz Bernhard Expert

Gareth Evans  ✉️

I am pro-Thorium
Thanks for your elaboration!
But I am only interested in the science behind pro-Thorium, nothing else. My question was not clear enough, sorry!
Many thanks!
Franz Bernhard

9th Oct 2019 19:49 BSTGareth Evans

Dear Franz:

Go to google, and type in "Thorium Nuclear Reactor" and you will be directed to hundreds of papers, and You Tube videos on the subject. Based on the information you will gleam from this you will be able to make an assessment on the benefits of Thorium as a source of energy. It would be impossible for me to give you a concise answer on a subject that is so broad. I just do not have the time or the space to type detailed answers.



10th Oct 2019 06:56 BSTFranz Bernhard Expert

Gareth Evans  ✉️

It would be impossible for me to give you a concise answer
 Thats a pity! But thanks anyways!
Franz Bernhard

10th Oct 2019 17:42 BSTFranz Bernhard Expert

Read it up. Oh well, lets stick to renewables, aka solar energy.
Franz Bernhard

12th Oct 2019 01:52 BSTGareth Evans

Franz a fact of Physics: 

The most electrical energy you can get extract from the sun at the equator with the sun directly overhead is 1100 watts. Note that the further north or south you move from the equator the less energy you can extract even at noon. 

The best solar panels costing $10,000 each and deployed on satellites are only 40% efficient. Those for consumer use have an efficiency of 15% at best. 

Thus noon equator = 0.15 x 1100 = 165 watts per square meter of solar panel. In the early morning until about 11 am and from 2 pm until night fall this figure drops off sharply. I am assuming there are never any clouds in your locality. 

Note that for 50% of the day your locality will be receiving no light, it will be night-time.  

The only thing solar panels do is make some people feel good about themselves – the effect is more physiological (endorphins flooding the brain) than technological. 

Solar panels are a utter waste of time – physics is against you!!!!! 

It takes more energy to make them than they can produce. 


13th Oct 2019 18:27 BSTFranz Bernhard Expert

Gareth Evans  ✉️

It takes more energy to make them than they can produce. 
I have read, that they need about 2-5 years to produce the amount of energy that their production has needed, incl. efficiency factors of caloric power plants. 
Wikipedia says, energetic amortization is within 0.75-3.5 years. Live span of solar cells is 20-30 years. So they produce at least 5 times the energy needed for their production. But I don´t know, is this numbers are correct! And it is nearly impossible to calculate such things yourself!

Now I will do something much easier:
Earth receives a total amount of energy from the sun of about 4x10exp24 J/a.
Total human energy consumption is 5.7x10exp20 J/a.
That´ s about 0.014% of the total solar input.

Considering electricity from solar cells: Take an efficiency of 15% and a mean yearly yield of about 10%. That gives you a mean output of 16.5 W/m2.
With this number you will need about 1.1 Mio km2 to produce all the energy that is needed at the moment by mankind (thats about 0.2 % of earths surface). Sure, I am not a fan of this exclusive solar cell approach, there are also many other useful renewables: Wind, hydroelectric power, biomass etc., each with its own merits and obstacles.

Please tell me, if something is wrong with my data or calculations!
Franz Bernhard

13th Oct 2019 19:11 BSTBob Thomas

Wish I'd met you a couple of years ago, Gareth.  I would have gifted you with a vial of Thorium Nitrate and a vial of Uranium Acetate.  It cost $3600 to dispose of them.

AGW is a myth.  You can tell by how hard the proponents try to silence all questions.  "Truth is unafraid of questions" - Paramahansa Yogananda.  

8th Oct 2019 07:45 BSTDale Foster Expert

For the most part the only time Fluorite would be dangerous is if a large lump of it smacked you in the head.

8th Oct 2019 08:54 BSTLukáš Křesina

Gorge, your fluorite is probably not dangerous, this is the good information. And now the bad one. Your question cannot be answered without photos and locality. Why? Your sample can be from locality, where uranium minerals occur too. If they are present on your specimen, they can be more or less dangerous.
Lukáš Křesina

8th Oct 2019 09:49 BSTUwe Ludwig

Fluorite with an essential content of radiation element is deep black and not only purble. If you break this black fluorite you will notice a  nasty smell which results by the elemntary fluor which is within the crystal structure and which became free by the radiation. This elemtary fluor is of course toxical but mostly it is too sparse to be a danger. The less radiation of black fluorite you can forget.

The miners named this black fluorite "Stinkspat" (stinky spar). Crystalls of black fluorite are relatively rare.  I found only one small specimen during my collecting live - a picture you see here.

Uwe Ludwig

8th Oct 2019 14:39 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Fluorite is definitely dangerous, to your bank account!

9th Oct 2019 21:58 BSTBob Harman

It is also dangerous to dentists.       You see the water in most areas is now fluoridated as are most toothpastes containing stannous fluoride (SnF2).    

Less cavities = less income for the dentists!     CHEERS.......BOB

10th Oct 2019 02:29 BSTDoug Daniels

As far as the thorium being a preferable nuclear fuel - there is the book " Superfuel:  thorium, the green energy source for the future" by Richard Martin (ISBN 978-0-230-11647-4).  Goes through, at least briefly, why thorium is better than uranium.

10th Oct 2019 13:05 BSTAlfredo Petrov Manager

Another time fluorite could be dangerous is if you dissolve it in sulphuric acid and turn it into the dreaded HF, but then again, just like grinding it, eating it or snorting it, mineral collectors have no reason to do that. Keep it OUTside the human body and there‘s nothing to worry about, unless, as Dale and Kevin said, you drop a lump on your bare toes, or you overdrew your checking account to purchase it.
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