[ RadSafe ] Questions about Authorship of UN Resolution on DU

roger helbig rhelbig at california.com
Fri Dec 28 18:31:06 CST 2007

Mr Gronowicz, 

Who are "we the scientists" in this joint communique, just
Katsumi Furitsu M.D. Ph.D. and Gretel Munroe or is there
supposedly some larger group who issued this communique?
 If there is a larger group, I would expect their names to
be available.  Who are Furitsu and Monroe?  What are their
connections to the issue?  Munroe does not even have any
academic alphabet soup after her name, so what exactly is
her role and expertise.  What specific expertise does
Furitsu has with regards to DU?  The "communique" has
references that are not just "science", but are more
political than scientific. This whole thing is a deliberate
tempest in a teapot -- it began with Saddam Hussein's
regime and no one has added anything material that supports
the Saddam regime claims since 1998.  


Roger Helbig

Example - unfounded speculation, not science

Rosalie Bertell, Depleted Uranium: All the Questions
about DU and Gulf War Syndrome are not yet Answered
International Journal of Health Services 36(3), 503-520,

There are no unanswered questions pertaining to DU -- there
is no real reason to believe that DU exposure has caused
the symptoms that collectively are referred to as "Gulf War
Syndrome".  There are numerous reports about this subject.

Use of chemical compound not found in nature - Uranyl
Acetate - this is a manufactured compound that can not be
produced in nature, especially in Iraq or Afghanistan
(where use of DU was miniscule - the Taliban had at most a
couple of dozen tanks and DU is not used in any bomb)

Wendy J. Hartsock et al, Uranyl Acetate as a Direct
Inhibitor of DNA-Binding Proteins, Chem. Res. Toxicol. 20,
784-789, 2007.

Diane M. Stearns et al., Uranyl acetate induces hprt
mutations and uranium-DNA adducts in Chinese hamster ovary
EM9 cells, Mutagenesis 20(6), 417-423, 2005.

On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 22:32:20 +0000
 a.gronowicz at att.net wrote:
Date:   Saturday, December 01, 2007 8:23:36 PM   [View

Joint Communique from Scientists
On the UN Resolution Concerning Depleted Uranium Weapons

On November the 1st, the resolution entitled 'Effects of
the use of 
armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium' was
passed at 
the UN First Committee by an overwhelming majority. The
was drafted by the Movement of Non-Aligned States and
submitted by 
Indonesia. We the scientists who have been concerned about
harmful effects of depleted uranium (DU) weapons, welcome

The resolution was adopted, because the majority of UN
member states 
took ‘into consideration the potential harmful effects of
the use of 
armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium on
human health 
and the environment’ (Preparatory Paragraph: PP 4);
that as humankind is more aware of the need to take
measures to protect the environment, any event that could
such efforts requires urgent attention to implement the
measures’ (PP 3). It was also ‘guided by the purposes
principles enshrined in the Charter of the UN and the rules
Humanitarian International Law’ (PP 1) and showed the 
determination ‘to carry forward negotiations on arms
regulation and 
disarmament’ (PP 2) on the issue of DU weapons.

We are convinced that, and expect that, this resolution
will be the 
first step to place the issue of DU weapons on the
agenda, following the issues of Landmines and Cluster
Munitions, and 
the beginning of a serious discussion about the deleterious
nature of 
DU weapons and a possible ban, among the member nations of
the UN.

We really respect and appreciate the effort of the leading
on behalf of this resolution. We also appreciate the
support from all 
the countries that voted for the resolution. We request and
that these supportive countries will vote for the
resolution again at 
the Plenary Session in December.

We strongly urge the countries that abstained from voting,
seriously reconsider the international meaning of the
stated in the PPs and to vote in its support at the Plenary
based on the independent political will of each country.

There is mounting scientific research, including studies
reported in 
the most recently peer -reviewed papers, which clearly
indicate ‘the 
potential harmful effects of the use of armaments and
containing depleted uranium on human health and the
environment’. We 
think that the previous reports from a number of
governmental bodies 
and international organizations have not yet fully
reflected and 
referenced these scientific studies. They mainly focus on
radiological toxicity to the lung and the chemical toxicity
to the 
kidneys. It is not right to vote against the resolution
based on 
those previous reports, without considering these

The countries which voted against the resolution, should
consider such circumstances, take account of the
multilateralism and 
dialogue with many other countries which are concerned
about the 
effect of these weapons and at least come to the table to
discuss the 
issue. Therefore, we urge these countries to change their
stance and vote to support the resolution at the coming
Plenary Session.

We, the scientists who have been working as specialists in
scientific fields including medicine, chemistry, biology,
environmental science and epidemiology, have been deeply
about the potentially harmful effects on the environment
and human 
health, which may be caused by the radioactive and chemical
of DU following the use of DU weapons.

DU is ‘nuclear waste’ produced from the enrichment
process and is 
mostly made up of the alpha emitting isotope Uranium 238
and is 
depleted in the fissionable isotope Uranium 235, as
compared to 
concentrated natural uranium (NU). DU is somewhat less
than NU, yet has about 60% of the radioactivity of
concentrated NU 
(NU in nature is a thousand times less concentrated). DU is
an alpha emitter, a very damaging type of radioactivity
inside the 
body. DU and NU are identical in terms of the chemical
which is also a source of potential damage to the body.
With regard 
to DU’s radioactivity, it is well known that concentrated
DU is one 
of a number of radioactive materials, which are strictly
by laws in most of the countries of the world.

Uranium’s high density gives DU shells increased range
penetrative power. This density, combined with uranium’s
nature, results in a high-energy kinetic weapon that can
punch and 
burn through armour plating. Striking a hard target, DU
create extremely high temperatures of more than 3000oC. The
immediately burns and vaporizes into an aerosol, which is
diffused in the environment, while the shell is penetrating
target. The uranium particles formed by this heat are
unlike forms of 
naturally formed uranium in terms of their size (10 to 100
smaller). These extremely small particle sizes are known to
be much 
more toxic and more rapidly absorbed from the lungs than
(micron-sized) particles.

Aerosolized DU dust can easily spread over the battlefield,
and can 
be re-suspended by the winds especially where the climate
is dry, 
spreading over civilian areas, sometimes even crossing
borders. Therefore, not only the military personnel but
also the 
civilians, including children who are very sensitive to
such toxic 
substances, might inhale the fine DU particles and
internalize them 
in their bodies. It was also recognized that DU weapons
were actually 
used even in highly populated residential areas. The
also continues after the cessation of hostilities. DU
particles will 
remain in the environment and retain their radiation for
decades and 
centuries if not longer. Taking these aspects of DU weapons
account, we consider that DU weapons are illegal under
international humanitarian, human rights and environmental
law and is 
one of the inhumane weapons of ‘indiscriminate

Uranium is a radioactive element naturally distributed in
environment. However, we repeat that the very fine
particles of DU 
created at the extremely high temperatures that result from
impact of a DU shell on a tank are micron- and nano-sized
and can 
travel in the body once inhaled. They have no analogue in
history. In 
addition, the high temperatures at impact sublimate the
metals in the 
tank around the penetrating holes and in the shell casing,
tiny particles of these metals and their oxides to the
aerosol which 
can be internalized if inhaled, like the uranium, and which
are toxic 
to the body. We have been facing an entirely new type of 
contamination to humans and the environment through these

It is true that we do not, as yet, understand the full
impact of fine 
particles of DU oxide on the human body. However, there is
considerable amount of basic scientific evidence from both
animal and 
cellular studies (including studies of human lung cells)
that suggest 
deleterious effects on human health from inhaled DU
particles through 
both radiological action and chemical toxicity. These data
indicate that the internalized uranium (both soluble
component and 
insoluble particles) has genotoxic effect (carcinogenic,
for it affects directly and/or indirectly the DNA, which
codes the 
genetic information of the cell. It has also been pointed
out that 
the internalized uranium may affect the intracellular
organelles and/ 
or enzyme proteins and damage some of the repair mechanisms
of the 
cells. These harmful effects are possibly produced in the
tissues and organs in a body, including potential damage to
immune and nervous systems. If genotoxic effects are
produced in the 
germ line cells, it might lead to trans-generational
effects. A 
teratogenic effect to the fetus was detected in animal
studies where 
rodents were exposed to DU during gestation; also a number
of Gulf 
War veterans were found to have DU in their semen. We
should in 
addition consider the possible synergistic effect of
and chemical-toxicity from DU exposure.

We think it critical to immediately launch a full-dress,
and independent environmental monitoring as well as health
medical research on possibly exposed populations, both
military and 
civilian, in the areas where the DU weapons have been used.
We should 
also pay serious attention to the contamination and
possible harmful 
health effects due to the manufacturing of DU weapons; a
recent study 
clearly indicates that the workers of the DU
factory as well as residents living nearby were
contaminated by DU. 
However, we should also note that it may take many years,
decades, before we get statistically significant results on
populations from epidemiological studies.

In the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,
which was 
adapted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and
(Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, they stated: ‘In order
to protect 
the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely
by States according to their capabilities. Where there are
threats of 
serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific
shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective
to prevent environmental degradation; Principle 15.’ This

‘precautionary principle’ has been confirmed repeatedly
in the UN. 
It is also recognized widely in the international community
as one of 
the most important principles concerning the international
as well as 
the domestic policies for environmental and public health
It is also a valuable and logical principle for us,
scientists, when 
we take responsibility for our society. The issue of DU
should be also discussed seriously based on the
principle' among the UN member countries.

Considering the basic scientific evidence we already have,
it is not 
right to continue using DU weapons making the excuse that
definitive conclusions had been reached’ in the present
limited risk 
assessments of the health and environmental impact of DU.
We request 
all the UN member countries to discuss seriously what
measures are needed, including the immediate clearance of 
contaminated remnants, and the protection of the
environment and the 
public health of contaminated populations following the use
of DU 
weapons. We request the member nations of the UN to refrain
using DU weapons, unless they are proved to be completely
safe. The 
burden of proof is on the users. Furthermore, we hope very
much that 
the international community will go forward to ban DU
weapons, one of 
the inhumane weapons of ‘indiscriminate destruction’.

Keith Baverstock,�Presentation to the Defence Committee
of the 
Belgian House of Representatives, 20 November 2006�,
www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/docs/15.pdf .

Rosalie Bertell, “Depleted Uranium: All the Questions
about DU and 
Gulf War Syndrome are not yet Answered�, International
Journal of 
Health Services 36(3), 503-520, 2006.

Wayne Briner and Jennifer Murray, “Effects of short-term
and long- 
term depleted uranium exposure on open-field behavior and
brain lipid 
oxidation in rats�, Neurotoxicology and Teratology 27,
135-144, 2005.

V. Chazel et al, Characterisation anddissolution of
depleted uranium 
aerosols produced during impacts of kinetic energy
against a tank. Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 105, 163-166, 2003.

Cooper, J.R. et al. "The behaviour of uranium-233 oxide and

uranyl-233 nitrate in rats." Intl. J. Radiat. Biol. 41(4),

Virginia Coryell and Diane Stearns, “Molecular analysis
of s hprt 
mutations generated in Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells by
acetate, by hydrogen peroxide, and spontaneously�,
Carcinogenesis 45(1), 60-72, 2006.

J.L. Domingo, Reproductive and developmental toxicity of
natural and 
depleted uranium: a review, Reproductive Toxicology 15, pp.

Wendy J. Hartsock et al, “Uranyl Acetate as a Direct
Inhibitor of 
DNA-Binding Proteins�, Chem. Res. Toxicol. 20, 784-789,

Arjun Makhijani et al., “Science for the Vulnerable:
Radiation and Multiple Exposure Environmental Health
Standards to 
Protect Those Most at Risk�, Institute for Energy and
Research (IEER), October 19, 2006. (http://www.ieer.org)

Melissa A. McDiarmid et al, “Health Effects of Depleted
Uranium on 
Exposed Gulf War Veterans�, Environmental Research
Section A 82, 
168-180, 2000 ,(p. 172 on DU in semen of Gulf War

Alexandra C. Miller (editor), Depleted Uranium: Properties,
Uses, and 
Health Consequences, Boca Raton: CRC Press, Taylor and
Francis Group, 
2007. See Chapter 1 by David McClain and A.C. Miller and
Chapter 4 by 
Wayne Briner (Neurotoxicology of depleted uranium in Adult
Developing Rodents), as well as other chapters.

A.C. Miller et al., “Observation of Radiation-Specific
Damage in 
Human Cells Exposed to Depleted Uranium: Dicentric
Frequency and 
Neoplastic Transformation as Endpoints�, Radiation
Dosimetry 99, 275-278, 2002.

Marjorie Monleau et al. “Genotoxic and Inflammatory
Effects of 
Depleted Uranium Particles Inhaled by Rats�,
Toxicological Sciences 
89(1), 287-295, 2006.

Randall R. Parrish et al., “Depleted uranium
contamination by 
inhalation exposure and its detection after approximately
20 years: 
implications for human health assessment�, Science of the
Environment, 2007 October 30 [E-pub ahead off print]

Adaikkappan Periyakarupan et al, “Uranium induces
oxidative stress 
in lung epithelial cells�, Arch. Toxicol. 8(16)389-395,

Diane M. Stearns et al., “Uranyl acetate induces hprt
mutations and 
uranium-DNA adducts in Chinese hamster ovary EM9 cells�,
20(6), 417-423, 2005.

G.N. Stradling et al. "The metabolism of ceramic and
nonceramic forms 
of uranium dioxide after deposition in the rat lung." Human
7, 133-139, 1988.

Bin Wan et al. “In Vitro Immune Toxicity of Depleted
Effects on Murine Macrophages, CD+T Cells, and Gene
Profiles�, Environmental Health Perspectives 114(1),
85-91, 2006.

H.B. Wilson et al. "Relation of particle size of uranium
dioxide dust 
to toxicity following ingalation by animals: II." Archives
Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Medicine 6(2), 93-104,

H.B. Wilson et al. "Relation of particle size of U3O8 dust
toxicity following inhalation in animals." Arch. of Indust.
11, 11-16, 1955.

Sandra S. Wise et al, “Particulate Depleted Uranium Is
Cytotoxic and 
Clastogenic to Human Lung Cells�, Chem. Res. Toxicol.
815-820, 2007.

(Originally drafted by Katsumi Furitsu M.D. Ph.D. and
Gretel Munroe. 
Nov. 20. 2007)

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