Depeleted uranium,DU, is a manufacturing by-product of reactor fuel and of nuclear bombs. It is a highly dense metal used to harden armor-piercing shells. It remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. The radioactivity is only one danger. As much as 70% of the metal burns on impact, creating a fine dust spread by the wind and inhaled and absorbed. It pollutes groundwater and becomes part of the food chain. Just six months before the Gulf War, the Army warned that public knowledge of its health and envionmental effects could lead to efforts to ban DU munitions.
Dr. Doug Rokke, now an Army Reserve major who describes himself as "a patriot to the right of Rush Limbaugh", served in Vietnam and was recalled to lead the DU cleanup operation after the Gulf War. He is today an outspoken opponent of DU munitions. Of his primary team of 100, 30 are dead and most of the others
have serious health problems. In the August issue of Military Medicine, the first study to look at inhaled DU[ not natural radioactive background uranium] among veterns suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, reported DU was present in the urine of 14 of 27 subjects. Dr. Rokke says "this whole thing is a crime against God and humanity". Adverse health effects include damage to neurological, respiratory and reproductive systems, as well as skin and organ cancer.
Between 1989 and 2001 birth defects in southern Iraq increased from 11 to 116 per 100,000. Even before knowing about DU doctors in southern Iraq made comparisons to the type of birth deformities which followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In addition to Iraq, DU munitions have been used in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia.
As of May,2002 159,238 Gulf War veterns have been awarded service connected disability for Gulf War Syndrome.
DU munitions offer a 'superior lethality' according to the Dept. of Defense. It is a lethality which keeps on giving.
Last edit by maureeno on Nov 12, '02
Nov 13, '02
The UK government (we were there too!) is still denying the existence of Gulf War Syndrome!