[ RadSafe ] Re: uranium in the gulf war

James Salsman james at readsay.com
Fri Jun 23 12:57:28 CDT 2006


Thank you for your questions.  What happened to your vet friend?

All of the combustion products of depleted uranium munitions are
toxic, including both the uranium dioxide (UO2, which is 25% of
the aerosol particles produced -- technically not "gas"), and
more so the triuranium octaoxide (U3O8, 75% of the particles
produced) because the U3O8 is more soluble.

I have asked Dr. Alexander and Colonel Daxon about whether there
is also gas vapor produced.  I think they agree that there must
be uranium trioxide (UO3, or "uranyl oxide") gas produced from
the combustion, which condenses to form the U3O8.  The question
is how much of it remains uncondensed in the air, and for how long.
There are a reasons to believe that substantial amounts do for a
while:  Firstly, U3O8 is too large of a molecule to be produced
directly from a uranium fire, which takes place at a temperature
of over 2500 Kelvin.  Since it comes from UO3 gas condensation and
decomposition, some of the UO3 gas must escape before it can
condense with other UO3 molecules, and remain isolated in the air.
Also, there is some direct evidence of UO3 film condensation, as
opposed to particulate condensation which forms U3O8:
Please see also:

However, nobody in the government, or anyone responsible for the
health aspects of DU munitions has ever measured the combustion
products of uranium for their gas products.  This is something of
a sore spot with me, because I think it represents some pretty
serious negligence.  If uranium fires do produce UO3 gas, then
the people treating exposure to the fumes need to know, because
unlike aerosol particles of U3O8 or UO2, UO3 gas goes directly
into the bloodstream if inhaled.  That means it has a different
toxicological profile.  As far as I can tell, so far no medical
research has even explored this fact.  Because I have spoken out
against those I feel are responsible, my posts to the radsafe
list are now moderated, unlike most other people's.  For more

Inhaling any kind of soluble uranium, such as U3O8 or UO3, can
cause uranium accumulation in gonocytes, which lead to birth
defects.  The best source for information about this is:

There is some pretty convincing evidence that the birth defect
rates for Gulf War veterans kids has been sharply increasing
over time.  The Birth and Infant Health Registry at the Naval
Health Research Center used to release statistics about this,
but 2000 was the last year they actually did after a sharp
uptrend in the congenital malformation rate.  See:

I have no idea how much uranium the various troops in different
locations were exposed to.  I think the idea of using urine tests
to study isotope ratios, which is currently popular, is not a
good idea, because if some of the exposure was from gas instead
of particles, that gas will not remain partially undissolved in
the lungs like the particles do and so it won't show up as much
in urine many years later.  I recommend that anyone wanting to
know their exposure to birth defect problems get a "karyotyping"
test, such as is described in this paper and slides:

Most of the therapies which work to alleviate uranium exposure
are really only effective if applied a short time after the
exposure occurs.  After uranium is absorbed from the blood to
the organs and tissues, there isn't much that can be done.  I
recommend these articles on related topics:

P.S. Here is the most recent medical research of which I am aware:

James Salsman

Carlos Billings wrote:

> A good friend of mine is vet who has some real problems, and some questions
> I've been looking the May archive of this radsafe at radlab.nl emailing
> list, on the subject "
> [ RadSafe ] [Fwd: RE: uranium combustion produces how much     UO3(g)?]"
> I want to know:  What gas, comes from burning uranium,  what does it
> do, does it cause birth defect problms,
> and how much was the 1st Infantry exposed to from Hafar Al Basin,
> Saudi Arabia to Safwan, Iraq to Kuwait City exposed to, and what can
> be done about it if they were?
> I'm a subscriber to the email list now, so you can reply to me or you
> can reply to this email list
> Thank you!
> Carlos

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