There's more going on like this than we know, I'm sure. My father-in-law and brothers-in-law worked at RMI (Reactive Metals Incorporated in Ashtabula, Ohio), which, through electrolysis, separated sodium from chlorine in salt. The chlorine was sold as a byproduct and the sodium was used to make titanium at RMI Titanium down the street.
In 1983, after the U.S. Chemical workers shut the plant down, a classmate of mine spent the better part of almost 30 years walking the economic graveyard with a geiger counter. Ashtabula was (is?) one of the most highly irradiated places around. I still wonder what was causing the irradiation.
Scott Chapin Powder Springs, GA, USA Nikonians Team Member