VA study of medical records on birth defects (was Re: [ RadSafe ] RE: uranium in the gulf war)

James Salsman james at
Tue Jun 27 12:58:42 CDT 2006

Colonel Daxon writes that after their survey finding an increase
in the rate of birth defects, the Veterans' Administration
"examined the medical records," finding that "the birth defect
rates were equal to the normal population rates."  And that, "the
paper that found that the birth defect rates were equivalent did
not receive much press."

I asked Colonel Daxon for a citation to this paper, but he has
not replied.  Does anyone know what paper he is referring to?

M. Ryan and P. Doyle in "Reproductive health of Gulf War veterans,"
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2006) 361:571
mention no such review of medical records.  I have been begging
Dr. Ryan for such a review for over a year.  When she refused,
I filed a FOIA request which was denied on privacy grounds, even
though I requested redacting.  I appealed but I'm beginning to
suspect my appeal must have been "lost."  That Ryan and Doyle
(2006) paper is the one where they call the near-doubling of
birth defects reported in the children of males "evidence of a
modest increase in risk" and omit all mention of the children of
females, which were reported as nearly tripling of birth defects
from the same source paper.  I am sure they would have mentioned
such a medical records study.

James Salsman

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	RE: [ RadSafe ] RE: uranium in the gulf war
Date: 	Mon, 26 Jun 2006 22:06:05 -0500
From: 	Eric D <edaxon at>
To: 	'Carlos Billings' <billingsauto at>
CC: 	'James Salsman' <james at>, 'Roger Helbig'
<rhelbig at>

No, not in the doses our soldiers received.  Unfortunately there is a
natural incidence of birth defects and the doses that our soldiers
received (both from a radiological stand point and a chemical) are too
low.  I want to provide you a little more information on the study the
VA did because it was and still is a great source of misunderstanding.
They found that Gulf War veterans REPORTED more birth defects than
non-Gulf War Veterans. When they actually did the study and examined the
medical records, the birth defect rates were equal to the normal
population rates.

I have a talk that I have been presenting to scientific societies that
addresses the harm that these kinds of papers can bring.  Oddly, the
paper that found that the birth defect rates were equivalent did not
receive much press.


-----Original Message-----
From: Carlos Billings [mailto:billingsauto at]
Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2006 5:20 PM
To: Eric D
Cc: James Salsman; alexandc at; Roger Helbig
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RE: uranium in the gulf war

Thanks Eric

Well, what do you say is causing the birth defects?   I follow what

your saying about accurate but misleading-how does that apply, Im not


a lot of people who think that uranium is a problem, and a lot of

people don't, and some of them have proved it in court, and some of

them havent.

Roger Helbig says you are the real expert-so do you think uranium is

causing birth defects?


On 6/25/06, Eric D <edaxon at> wrote:

 >  Carlos,


 >  I have run into this type of message and statement many times in the 20

 >  years that I did depleted uranium health physics and research as an Army

 >  Officer.  Just to provide you with a little of my background.  I have a

 >  Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering from MIT, A PhD in Radiation 

 >  (the medical and public health part of health physics).  I am also a

 >  Certified Health Physicist.


 >  My experience with the kind of message below came when I became the DoD

 >  spokesperson for the medical and health physics aspects of DU. 

 >  attacked the well-founded conclusions the DoD drew in one of two ways.

 >  Either I was called a liar or the DoD conclusions were refuted with

 >  statements that were "cherry-picked" from reports and placed in a 

 >  to support the conclusion the author wanted rather than the conclusions

 >  intended by the report or more importantly the conclusions that would be

 >  drawn from considering the totality of the literature.  Placing the

 >  statements below in the proper context would take volumes.


 >  This is hard to explain and here is a true story that I use to 

 >  the "cherry-pick" technique:


 >  Cherry-picked story:


 >  " I am a good harmonica player and I am currently in a band.  I signed a

 >  recording contract in Nashville. My first release was so popular, you

 >  get it any more. I actually played the Grand Old Opry."


 >  All of the statements above are true.  Complete story:


 >  "I am a good harmonica player and I am in a band.  The band is a 
hobby and

 >  we do a lot of charity work in the local San Antonio. My wife and I
went on

 >  a vacation and stopped in Nashville. I signed a recording contract in

 >  Nashville.  It was with one of those tourist-traps, a street-side

 >  studio.  I paid the person $20 and he let me record for 10 minutes. He

 >  me one CD cassette and I gave it to my wife which means you can't get
it any

 >  more.  On a walking tour of the Grand Old Opry, I got up on stage and

 >  played."


 >  Each of the cherry-picked statements are accurate but convey a 

 >  inaccurate message.


 >  I noticed in another message, you asked Mr. Salsman why he is doing
this.  I

 >  can't speak for him.  I am doing this because the type of 

 >  conveyed by the message below is causing harm to the soldiers and the

 >  families I worked to help my entire career.  It is diverting medical

 >  attention, congress's attention and research dollars from projects that

 >  would actually help these fine people.


 >  If you really want to help you friend as I do.  Please refer him to the

 >  nearest VA or DoD medical facility.


 >  Eric Daxon


 >  It is diverting legislative energy

 >   This is what has occurred below.  As I have already said Expensive

 >  research has been done on DU since the early


 >  -----Original Message-----

 >  From: James Salsman [mailto:james at]

 >  Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 3:23 PM

 >  To: Eric D

 >  Cc: Carlos Billings; alexandc at; radsafe at

 >  Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RE: uranium in the gulf war


 >  Dear Colonel Daxon:


 >  I apologize for not completely representing your comments.

 >  I did not understand some of them because they were so brief.

 >  What part of my message to Carlos Billings is incorrect?

 >  In particular, do you disagree with any of the following

 >  points?  I believe these all are well-supported, and as-yet

 >  undisputed facts:


 >  1.  Uranium combustion from munitions fires such as those

 >  from 30mm DU rounds occurs above 2500 Kelvin and directly

 >  produces uranium dioxide (UO2) and trioxide (UO3) gas.


 >  2.  Much of both of the uranium oxide gases condense into

 >  particulate aerosol and dust solids.


 >  3.  When UO3 gas condenses, it decomposes into U3O8, which

 >  comprises 75% of solid uranium combustion product.  (UO2

 >  particulates comprise the remainder.)


 >  4.  Some of the UO3 gas escapes into the air, before it can

 >  condense with other UO3 molecules to form U3O8.


 >  5.  Some of the UO3 plates out on surfaces, e.g., as

 >  detected in the swabs collected by Salbu et al. (2005).


 >  6.  Nobody has ever measured the gas products of uranium

 >  combustion.  So far, only the solid combustion products have

 >  been measured.


 >  7.  UO3 gas inhalation and U3O8 particulate inhalation will

 >  both lead to uranyl ion absorption in the bloodstream.


 >  8.  Uranyl absorption from UO3 gas inhalation is immediate,

 >  while absorption from U3O8 particles is much slower, because

 >  U3O8 is partially soluble and takes months for half of it to

 >  dissolve in the lungs.


 >  9.  The particulate aerosols diffuse through the air at a

 >  different rate than UO3 gas.  Therefore, UO3 gas exposure

 >  will not always occur simultaneously with particulate oxide

 >  exposure.


 >  10.  Uranyl ions absorbed by cells from the bloodstream

 >  soon become undetectable in the urine, as renal elimination

 >  occurrs with a half-time of less than two weeks.


 >  11.  Since UO3 gas may be encountered without particulates,

 >  urine isotope ratio studies which depend on detecting

 >  uranium from slowly dissolving uranium oxide particles do

 >  not necessarily indicate uranium combustion product

 >  inhalation exposure, or the extent of uranyl poisoning.


 >  12.  The toxicological profile of uranyl poisoning is

 >  dependent on elimination effects, such that a small dose

 >  occurring quickly (such as from UO3 gas) will have a

 >  different physiological effect than from a larger dose

 >  occurring over a longer a period of time (such as from U3O8

 >  particle dissolution in the lungs.)


 >  13.  All uranyl poisoning is genotoxic and teratogenic,

 >  increasing the probability of chromosome aberrations in

 >  white blood cells and birth defects in children.


 >  14.  Karyotyping measurements of chromosome aberrations will

 >  proportionally reflect uranyl exposure, in addition to other

 >  genetic damage.


 >  15.  Empirical measurement of the amount of UO3 gas produced

 >  by uranium combustion is necessary for determining the proper

 >  medical response to uranium combustion product exposure.


 >  For those items with which you do disagree, please let me know

 >  why.  Based on the content of your earlier messages, where

 >  exactly we disagree is currently a mystery to me.  Thank you.


 >  Sincerely,

 >  James Salsman


 >  > Unfortunately Mr. Salsman did not relate the main thrust of my 

 >  and

 >  > Dr. Alexander's comments concerning UO3.  I do not agree that UO3 
is an

 >  > issue for reasons that I have already discussed.  DoD did look for and

 >  found

 >  > trace amounts of UO3 as expected.  I have read the references quoted

 >  > and they support my conclusions and the findings in the DoD Capstone

 >  report.

 >  >

 >  > The message conveyed by the remainder of Mr. Salzman's post is 

 >  and

 >  > at odds with what we know about uranium and depleted uranium.  This

 >  subject

 >  > has been studied since the late 1940's.

 >  >

 >  > If your friend has concerns about his exposure, the Department of

 >  > Affairs and the Department of Defense have programs that can provide

 >  > information and assistance.  I helped put them together.

 >  >

 >  > v/r

 >  >

 >  > Eric Daxon, PhD, CHP

 >  > Colonel, USA(Ret)




 >  -------- Original Message --------

 >  Subject: Re: uranium in the gulf war

 >  Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 10:57:28 -0700

 >  From: James Salsman <james at>

 >  To: Carlos Billings <billingsauto at>

 >  CC: radsafe at,  alexandc at,  edaxon at

 >  References: <e9f470380606230059q6c199f31ie5a6b3b02b4c5c at>


 >  Carlos,


 >  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

 >  information:




 >  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:



 >  stract&list_uids=16679544


 >  Sincerely,

 >  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 emailing

 >  > list, on the subject "

 >  > [ RadSafe ] [Fwd: RE: uranium combustion produces how much 

 >  >

 >  > 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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