[ RadSafe ] Re: [ RadSafe] What Became of this 2001 WHO Investigation?

Marcel Schouwenburg M.Schouwenburg at TNW.TUDelft.NL
Mon Jul 25 06:44:51 CDT 2005

Posted on behalf of  Susan Gawarecki



It's not clear to me what the water table depth has to do with 
contamination of the surface with uranium.  By the way, shallow 
groundwater in southern Iraq would only be found in the active Tigris 
and Euphrates floodplain and delta.  It's a desert everywhere else and 
groundwater is much deeper.  If you are concerned about uranium being 
carried into the groundwater, rainfall is the mechanism by which this 
happens--there is a good deal of that in Bosnia and Kosovo and very 
little in Iraq.  Natural uranium is not an uncommon trace component of 
groundwater in many geologic settings.  Considering the dilution factor 
of groundwater, the low solubility of uranium oxide, and the low total 
mass of uranium involved, this potential exposure pathway is of no 
consequence in these war zones.

I get the impression from your statements that you are quoting the 
literature with no real understanding of what it means.  An expert in a 
particular field can look at a data set and make many important 
inferences based on education and experience.  You consistently make 
mistakes by taking factoids out of context and trying to juxtapose them 
in a strained (and unsuccessful) effort to prove your point.

While I am not a health physicist, I am a geologist with a doctorate 
earned doing field studies in the desert on the west bank of the Gulf of 
Suez, Egypt.  Moreover, I wrote two major research papers on the geology 
of Iraq and worked for 10 years as a hydrogeologist (a person who deals 
with groundwater), much of it supervising monitoring-well installations 
at hazardous waste sites and interpreting the resulting data, so I know 
what I'm talking about.  As far as I can tell, you have yet to establish 
any bona fides in the radiation safety arena.  Being well-meaning and 
having a lots of references just isn't enough.

Susan Gawarecki

Salsman wrote:

>>>...  field measurements taken around selected impact
>>> sites in Kosovo indicates that contamination by DU in
>>> the environment was localized to a few tens of metres
>>> around impact sites....
>True, mostly because the water table in Kosovo and Bosnia
>is fairly deep, while in Iraq it is often just a meter
>deep in the south where most of the pyrophoric uranium
>weaponry was used.  See:  D. Ribera, F. Labrot, G. Tisnerat,
>and J.-F. Narbonne, "Uranium in the environment:
>occurrence, transfer, and biological effects," Reviews of
>Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, vol. 146 (1996),
>pp. 53-89.

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