[ RadSafe ] Re: Proposed Rebuttal to the Laura Weldon Article

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Wed Jan 23 10:12:52 CST 2008

Dear Colonel Cherry:

I am in agreement with your comments and I cannot abide the opportunistic
activists preying on a soldier's family's fear.

I worked overseas for 14 years mainly addressing nuclear issues including
uranium mining, nuclear waste management and nuclear fuel cycle issues
working at the IAEA for 8 years and 2 years working in-country on a
Chernobyl project.  What I gleaned from listening to my Belarusian and
Russian colleagues, aside from a limited increase in cancer, most of the
"increased" illness from the Chernobyl event was the result of stress caused
by fear beginning with suicide as an increased "risk" factor, followed by
drug/alcohol abuse, diabetes, heart disease and stroke compared to the
"unaffected" population.  These stress-related diseases by far outweigh the
increase in cancer, but are seldom "discussed" and certainly never mentioned
by the media.  

A similar pattern can be seen in other displaced, disenfranchised and
frightened groups of people.  While working as a volunteer with the Austrian
Red Cross in the late 80s (in Trofaiach, dear Franz) during the Romanian
Revolution, I remember interviewing 30 or 40 refugees, both individuals and
families that had been exposed to intense violence and fear. They were
referred to me if they spoke English (most did not speak German).  Several
of the women in families that I worked with had miscarriages or premature
deliveries, and I always referred pregnant women to be examined by a primary
care physician as soon as possible.  Several of these women were
hospitalized for several weeks because of complications in their pregnancy.
This occurred in far greater numbers than Austrian women in the community.

Fear is a extremely potent pathogen.

Unfortunately, in this society, we do not seem to address root causes but
frequently try to point the blame to specific, politically expedient,
albeit, unlikely agents.  Sadly, this is our human nature.

Dan ii

Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA
Cell: +1-505-710-3600; Home: +1-281-903-7667; Fax: +1-713-241-1012; Office:
+1-713-241-5726; Austria:  +43-676-725-6622
mccarn at unileoben.ac.at           HotGreenChile at gmail.com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of bobcherry at satx.rr.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 9:09 AM
To: Roger Helbig; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re: Proposed Rebuttal to the Laura Weldon Article in
bold Text

"Military personnel and civilians who have been exposed to DU have linked
the toxin to illness, birth defects and death. "
This is most certainly true. However, these people have no scientific basis
for making these links. Competent, unbiased scientists know of and can find
no links. 
Here is the scientific question: If the hypothesis is that DU has caused the
myriad illnesses, birth defects, and deaths that the activists have alleged,
what is the mechanism that is behind it? After more than 60 years of highly
funded research, radioactivity and chemical toxicity at the levels to which
these people were allegedly exposed cannot explain it .
I offer two alternate explanations, which may be considered together or
1. The alleged number of illnesses, birth defects and deaths is highly
exaggerated, to put it tactfully, and/or
2. Something else is the cause (such as parasites, chemical exposure,
genetic proclivity, insect bites, or disease).
Accepting at face value the activists' allegations of the incidence of these
maladies is not a good idea. Neither is accepting at face value the
activists' allegations that DU is the one and only cause of these alleged
maladies. Doing so is not scientific, is not responsible, gives comfort to
our enemies, provides unwarranted stress to our soldiers and their families,
sends truly ill soldiers and their families down false paths for
explanations and compensation, harms the pride in service of our soldiers,
provides fodder for irresponsible politicians, and wastes resources better
spent on real issues.
I have no gripe against anyone who is against the war in Iraq or who is
against the use DU munitions. My gripe is with those who make false
allegations about DU for their own hidden and not so hidden agendas. They
are hurting our military and our Veterans and I don't like it.
Bob Cherry, PhD, CHP
Colonel, US Army (retired)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Roger Helbig <rhelbig at california.com> 
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 5:46 am 
Subject: Proposed Rebuttal to the Laura Weldon Article in bold Text 
To: Bob Cherry <bobcherry at satx.rr.com>, roy herren <royherren at comcast.net>,
Holloway3 at aol.com, Karen Bartelt <kbar1000 at sbcglobal.net>, Steven Dapra
<sjd at swcp.com>, Dr Raabe <ograabe at ucdavis.edu> 
Cc: "'Finster, Mary E.'" <mfinster at anl.gov> 

> New Test Finds Depleted Uranium 20 Years After Exposure 
> by Laura Weldon 
> (NewsTarget) Depleted uranium (DU) has been found in the urine of 
> Gulf War 
> vets as long as 20 years after exposure. A highly sensitive test 
> has been 
> developed which can detect DU even when previous screening has proven 
> negative. This test may assist with unresolved health claims. 
> Dr Parrish did not test veterans - he tested employees at a 
> smelter in 
> Colonie, NY. He may have hypothesized that he had tested 
> veterans, but to 
> start with the Gulf War was 16 not 20 years ago. 
> We are all exposed to minuscule amounts of uranium every day. But 
> it would 
> take over five tons of rock and soil to come up with a teaspoon of the 
> isotopic proportions of natural uranium. In contrast, the DU used 
> by the 
> military <http://www.newstarget.com/military.html> is "depleted" 
> by only 
> one percent of the total uranium. It remains highly concentrated. 
> First part is OK, but the 5 tons of rock and soil part and 
> teaspoon has 
> nothing to do with DU. The second sentence makes no sense. DU 
> is not 
> depleted of uranium, it is uranium that has had the fissionable 
> isotopesremoved. Unlike natural uranium, it is also pure uranium 
> metal, not a mix 
> of uranium isotopes and decy products. The amount of DU that a 
> soldiermight have encountered is very comparable to the amount 
> that they consume on 
> a miniscule daily basis. Ms Weldon implies that you would need to 
> eat 5 
> tons of rock and dirt daily to get a comparable amount of uranium; 
> that is 
> misleading. 
> Any form of uranium becomes exceedingly dangerous when burned, 
> which is 
> exactly what happens when DU is used in weapons systems. The tiny 
> particlesare aerosolized and can be inhaled into the lungs. These 
> soluble DU 
> compounds then enter the bloodstream and from there reach bones 
> and organs. 
> This DU can remain, literally radiating the body from within, for 
> years. In 
> the past, exposed individuals were often not checked for inhaled 
> DU or were 
> not tested with equipment that could differentiate the isotopes 
> 235 and 236 
> characteristic of DU. 
> The first sentence is not scientifically sound. Uranium becomes 
> uraniumoxide when burned. The uranium in your own backyard is 
> already some form of 
> uranium oxide or a uranium salt created from uranium oxide. 
> Uranium is 
> never found as free metallic uranium in nature. It oxidizes too 
> easily.Iron is never found in free metallic form either. Most 
> metals oxidize 
> rapidly. Gold and Platinum are the exceptions. 
> DU oxide is still pretty much insoluble. Being oxidized does not make 
> soluble. The Uranium 235 isotope is removed from natural uranium 
> to create 
> relatively pure Uranium 238 (DU) - U 235 is not an isotope 
> characteristic of 
> DU. 
> Recently a University of Leicester geologist, Professor Randall R. 
> Parrish,and his research team, developed a highly sensitive means 
> of detecting DU in 
> urine using mass spectrometry. These results enabled Parrish to 
> reassessdata on DU exposure. He notes that findings of DU in the 
> urine of 1991 Gulf 
> War <http://www.newstarget.com/Gulf_War.html> vets is uncommon, 
> but if the 
> exposure was significant it can be detected. Such a test can 
> relieve the 
> concerns of some veterans and validate the claims of others. 
> Parrish also 
> sees a need to study people who live near DU munitions facilities 
> and people 
> in DU contaminated areas of Iraq 
> <http://www.newstarget.com/Iraq.html> . 
> The above may be accurate and straight out of a University of 
> Leicester PR 
> release 
> Armor-piercing shells made of depleted 
> <http://www.newstarget.com/depleted_uranium.html> uranium were 
> first used 
> during the Gulf War in 1991 as U.S. and Allied troops rousted 
> Iraqi forces 
> from Kuwait. DU was used again in 1995, this time in NATO air 
> strikes over 
> Bosnia. And now DU is heavily used in Iraq. There, DU is used not 
> only in 
> anti-tank weapons but also in guided missiles and aerial bombs. 
> The first sentence is accurate. The second sentence is mainly 
> inaccurate.DU is NOT heavily used in Iraq. DU is only used in 
> anti-tank weapons, 
> specifically kinetic energy penetrator rounds for 120mm M1A1 Tank 
> main gun, 
> 25 mm Chain Gun on Bradley Fighting Vehicle and 30mm GAU-8 A-10 
> Warthog and 
> Harrier Gatling Gun. DU is not used in either guided missiles or 
> aerialbombs. They are part of the anti-DU myth from the anti-DU 
> crusade. There 
> are no enemy tanks in Iraq right now and have not been any since 
> 2003, so it 
> is extremely unlikely that DU has been used since 2003. The only 
> currentuse of DU is most likely in armor on some M1A1 Abrams Tanks. 
> DU is utilized for armor piercing munitions due to its very high 
> density.Since DU is 1.7 times more dense than lead, this provides 
> increasedpenetration. 
> This is an accurate statement. 
> The radiation emitted by DU persists for thousands of years. 
> This is misleading. Uranium 238 has an extremely long half life, 4.5 
> billion years. That is because half of all the uranium ever 
> created in the 
> Earth's crust is still there 4.5 billion years later. The fact 
> that it has 
> a 4.5 billion year half life is an indication of the extreme 
> stability of 
> the isotope. Dangerous radioisotopes, on the other hand, have 
> extremelyshort half lives, minutes, hours, days, weeks, not 4.5 
> billion years. An 
> example of such a dangerous isotope is Polonium 210 which has a 
> half-life of 
> 21 days. 
> Military personnel and civilians who have been exposed to DU have 
> linked the 
> toxin to illness, birth defects and death. 
> Anti-depleted uranium crusaders, beginning with Saddam Hussein's 
> regimewanting out from under the UN Sanctions that ended the Gulf 
> War convincing 
> peace activists at a 1998 conference in Iraq, planted these ideas that 
> continually circle the net. Substantial testing has been made of 
> people and 
> animals. No one is known to have died; there are no confirmed 
> birth defects 
> or illness. There are a small number of claims, but none have 
> really been 
> supported and scientific evidence of substantial experimentation 
> does not 
> support these claims. 
> The U.S. Federal Code Title 50 Chapter 40 2302 defines weapons of mass 
> destruction as follows: 1) The term "weapon of mass destruction" 
> means any 
> weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause 
> death or 
> serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through 
> the release, 
> dissemination, or impact of: 
> (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors 
> (B) a disease organism 
> (C) radiation or radioactivity 
> By these standards, DU meets two of three definitions as a weapon 
> of mass 
> destruction. 
> By these standards, DU does not meet any of these definitions. DU 
> is not 
> intended to cause death or serious injury to anyone other than the 
> immediatetargeted tank crew and some of these men have survived. 
> 36 American 
> soldiers that were in armored vehicles hit by "friendly fire" 
> still are 
> alive and have been tracked for the DU that they still bear in 
> their bodies 
> since the Gulf War. Not a single one of these soldiers has died, 
> had a 
> child with birth defects, or been made sick by the DU shrapnel 
> inside their 
> bodies for the past 17 years. 
> DU has never caused death or serious body injury to a significant 
> number of 
> people - this is the part of the article that is pure anti-DU 
> propaganda - 
> the source is most likely a San Francisco peace activist lawyer 
> Karen Parker 
> who thinks that she makes international law and has had a 
> significant effect 
> in putting false information about DU and WMD on the net and out 
> into the 
> world. TargetNews should not follow suit. 
> About the author 
> Laura Weldon is a writer with a book called Free Range Learning 
> coming out 
> in 2008. She lives on an organic farm and believes in bliss. 
> _____ 
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