[ RadSafe ] RE: uranium in the gulf war

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Tue Jun 27 20:03:42 CDT 2006

June 27

Steven Dapra [SD] writes:

(A lengthy question about whether a memo from Los Alamos to those studying 
depleted uranium use in the Gulf War, stating that if the weapons were 
found to be effective, "we should assure their future ... through 
Service/DoD proponency," actually represents, "an active, semi-coordinated 
campaign ... to do public relations work in support of depleted uranium 

James Salsman (JS):

People can read what is plainly written in that memo.

         That memo said nothing about any PR campaign in support of DU weapons.

Was there any reason to test Agent Orange for carcinogens and teratogens in 
the early 1970s?

Yes, I think there was, and of course there was, in hindsight.  When you 
order a huge volume of a synthetic chemical to which people are going to be 
exposed from the lowest bidder, who would argue that it isn't a good idea 
to double-check the quality control for purity and toxins? If only to make 
sure you got what you ordered, shouldn't you check for contaminants?


         This answer is self-serving hindsight.

When was it discovered that Agent Orange contained these substances?

Not soon enough.


         Brilliant.  Brill-yunt.

As far as that goes, has it ever been conclusively shown that Agent Orange 
had any adverse effects on the servicemen who were exposed to it?

Yes, there was a huge amount of dioxin in the remaining barrels, and the 
court verdicts that it was responsible for the excess cancers and birth 
defects has [sic] withstood their appeals.


         The remaining "huge" amount of dioxin has nothing to do with 
whether or not it caused any human harm.  (What are these "remaining 
barrels," and what do they have to do with anything?)  Court verdicts are 
not epidemiological studies.  This is a legalistic answer, not a scientific 

[edit part about uranium miner studies]

More Salsman: "there are now a bunch of state governments which mandate 
urine isotope ratio tests, which I think are completely flawed." Why do you 
think the tests are flawed, and what are your qualifications for making 
this claim?

Because I know how to read, and nobody has yet answered by [sic] claim that 
the uranyl oxide gas produced in uranium fires would not show up in a urine 
isotope ratio test. Colonel Daxon said that the 15 points I sent him (also 
below) were "accurate but misleading" and that "it would take volumes to 
put them in context," whatever that is supposed to mean. So, I must 
conclude that Colonel Daxon is unable to find any evidence against point # 
11, and if he is not, then I doubt anyone can. Nobody else has, either.


         So what?  I know how to read too, and I say they are not flawed. 
 From where did you copy those 15 points, and are you a chemist?  (Frame it 
and claim it degrees are not allowed.)  If you know how to read, why don't 
you know what context is?

Still more Salsman: "Of all the symptoms of Gulf War illness, an increase 
in the cancer rate has never been confirmed by medical studies except very 
recently with respect to brain cancer deaths:
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer article says, "Brain cancer deaths . . . now 
are recognized by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments as 
potentially connected to service during the Persian Gulf War." POTENTIALLY 
CONNECTED Note too that Salsman offers no primary source material to 
support this.

That's because I don't have any primary source material for that claim; it 
was completely new to me in the Seattle P.-I. story. But I can give you a 
dozen reports, e.g., at least ten from Dr. Melissa McDairmid's group alone, 
which claim no increase in cancer incidence rates in uranium-exposed Gulf 
War veterans. There just isn't any confirmation of increased cancer rates 
(plenty of claims of that, though.)


         This is a confused answer.  Salsman is claiming or insinuating 
that Gulf War exposures cause cancer, and now he appears to endorse 
McDairmid's group's findings that there is no increase in cancer incidence 
rates.  What --- if anything --- are we supposed to believe?  Let's have 
the citations to your "dozen reports."

[edit balance about nerve gas and Kang et al's study in Annals of Epidemiology]

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com

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