[ RadSafe ] three questions

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Sat Apr 7 22:24:37 CDT 2007

April 7

         My reply to James Salsman's message of April 5 follows. He is JS, 
I am SD.

There are copies of Ryan and Araneta's papers in 
http://www.bovik.org/du/mscusn/ as there have been since July of 2005.


         Yes, they are at bovik.  I asked for a link, I did not ask to be 
told where they were, and I had no way of knowing they were at bovik.

On March 6 (on RADSAFE), JS wrote:  "Dr. Margaret Ryan, whose DoD Birth and 
Infant Health Registry at the Naval Health Research Center is charged with 
publication of the reproductive health records which Kang and Araneta had 
been summarizing independently of each other, abruptly stops publishing 
tabulated statistics in 2001, writes a letter in response to Araneta's 
article (which echoed Kang's claims), saying that Araneta's methodology was 
flawed without saying why, and then co-authors a whitewash with Doyle -- 
who detected the same increase, by the way, but discounted it as 'reporting 
error' in her own paper -- calling the 80% increase in birth defects 
'modest.' "

         (I should point out that JS has never explained that alleged 80% 
increase.  Also, on March 7 I wrote on RADSAFE, "Doyle, Ryan, and their 
co-author wrote that there was a modest increase in 'risk,' NOT an increase 
in actual birth defects.")

         How is anyone supposed to be able to tell from what you (JS) have 
written here which Ryan and Araneta papers to read?  Furthermore, in the 
dispute about methodology, Ryan wrote a *letter,* not a paper.  You said 
yourself that she wrote a letter, and you neglected to tell us that Araneta 
et al. (2004) wrote a letter of reply, which you have posted on bovik at 
the link above.  This exchange of letters is largely about arcane points of 
statistical analysis, and contrary to what you said, the letter by Ryan et 
al. (2004) (not Ryan by herself) explains some of the objections to the 
Araneta et al. methodologies.  I have read the two letters, and have them 
before me.

Why were you unable to use Google to find their papers on gulf war-related 
birth defects?

         I was not unable to use Google.  I did not think of using 
it.  Besides I would have been looking for letters, not papers, and either 
way using Google would have been like looking for a needle in a 
haystack.  Since you have all this stuff ready on bovik, why can't you 
cooperate and give links?

In reference to the reproductive toxicity of uranium, you told me, "you 
already know you are not going to believe anything you're told here." 
Actually, it has been quite a while since anyone on RADSAFE has denied the 
reproductive toxicity of uranium. However, all of the Health Physics 
Society web pages which deal with the subject do, e.g., 
http://hps.org/documents/dufactsheet.pdf.  [JS quotes the HPS fact sheet, 
and the quote follows.]


         The HPS fact sheet says: "Exposures to airborne DU or to 
contaminated soil following military use are not known to cause any 
observable health or reproductive effects."  It gives two links to World 
Health Organization findings on DU.  According to the first one, "No 
reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans."  The 
link is <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en/index.html> 
under the subheading "Potential health effects of exposure to depleted 

The second WHO link says, "No study has established a link between exposure 
to DU and the onset of cancers or congential abnormalities."  The link is: 
(See the bottom of p. 7.)

         This is more of JS's clever deceit.  He makes it appear that the 
Health Physics Society fact sheet is based on nothing, when it has the 
links that substantiate its claims.  JS pretends there are no links to WHO, 
while tacitly scoffing at the HPS.

Compare that to the published peer-reviewed medical literature: "A number 
of studies have shown that natural uranium is a reproductive toxicant...." 
Arfsten, D.P.; K.R. Still; G.D. Ritchie (2001) "A review of the effects of 
uranium and depleted uranium exposure on reproduction and fetal 
development," Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 17, pp. 
180-91:  http://www.bovik.org/du/reproduction-review-2001.pdf


This quote is in Arfsten et al.'s "Summary and Ongoing Research," and it 
ends by saying natural uranium is " . . . a reproductive toxicant in 
rodents, and may be toxic and teratogenic to the developing rodent fetus." 
It adds that these findings justify a multigenerational study in 
rodents.  The Arfsten et al. paper is a review of some rodent studies.  In 
closing, it says DU alloy may or may not affect rodent reproduction, and 
that DU may or may not affect the in utero development of rodents (p. 189).

         Early in their paper Arfsten et al. note the role of the popular 
press in claiming DU is harmful, and the role of obvious anti-DU partisans; 
as well as noting the work of Domingo and associates who have done some 
rodent studies.  In fact, Arfsten lists eight sources for the claim that DU 
is harmful, and only one is from studies in the scientific literature 
(Domingo et al.) who have three of their studies listed in the Arfsten et 
al. references.  (You can see Arfsten et al. p. 181 for the role of the 
popular press.)  I read the Domingo (1989b) study today and I believe 
Arfsten et al. reverse the chief findings of Domingo et al., however that 
is a story for another occasion.

"human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth 
defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU." Hindin, R.; D. Brugge; B. 
Panikkar (2005) "Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from 
an epidemiological perspective," Environmental Health, vol. 4, pp. 17: 


         Hindin et al. write: "Our specific concern here is whether or not 
such exposure [to DU] results in teratogenic outcomes. We present, however, 
some analysis of the toxicity of natural and non-aerosolized uranium, 
because the teratogenicty [sic] of soluble, natural uranium supports the 
plausibility of DU being a teratogen, provided it can reach the 
reproductive organs."  (Note the qualifier at the end of the second sentence.)

         They also write:  "Because the micro-particles of DU are much 
larger than individual solubilized molecules, they can create 'hot spots' 
of localized alpha radiation. For this to be relevant to teratogenicty 
[sic], however, the particles, rather than their dissolution products, 
would have to reach the reproductive tissue, a phenomenon for which we are 
unaware of supporting evidence. (Having said this, we hasten to add that 
the pathways by which radiation exerts its deleterious effects on living 
beings are by no means fully elucidated."

         I found eight other qualifiers in the Hindin et al. paper that 
tend to undercut its anti-DU theme.  I should think by now, James, you 
would have learned that I read these studies.

And again, there are no peer-reviewed medical reports from the past ten 
years which deny the reproductive toxicity of uranium.


         I addressed this is my message to RADSAFE yesterday.  Suffice it 
to say, lack of denial proves nothing; plus the only possible toxicity so 
far appears to be in rodents.  Even establishment scientists have their 
doubts about extrapolating animal studies to humans.

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com


Araneta, M., et al.  Birth Defects Research (Part A) 70:48-49; 2004.

Domingo, J. et al.  Archives of Environmental Health.  44(__):395-398; Dec. 

Ryan, M. et al.  Birth Defects Research (Part A) 70:47; 2004.

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