Fwd: [ RadSafe ] Explanation for Gulf War illness?

Mark Bower mbower at sprintmail.com
Tue Jun 10 20:04:32 CDT 2008


-----Original Message-----
    From: "Steven Dapra" <sjd at swcp.com>
    Sent: 6/1/08 9:29:08 PM
    To: "radsafelist" <radsafe at radlab.nl>
    Subject: Re: Fwd: [ RadSafe ] Explanation for Gulf War illness?
    June 1, 2008
    	In an attempt to buttress his claims about the alleged dangers
of exposure 
    to depleted uranium (DU), James Salsman has frequently invoked a
    paper by JL Domingo.  Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous
    member, I now have a copy of this paper and will present some
comments on 
    it.  The full title of Domingo's paper is "Reproductive and
   					 toxicity of natural and
depleted uranium: a review," [Reproductive 
    Toxicology; 15 (2001) 603-609].  [I have omitted all citations in
    following critique of Domingo (2001).]
    	Domingo begins his Introduction by noting that "until recently
there was a 
    lack of published observations regarding uranium-induced
reproductive and 
    developmental toxic effects," and says that in 1987 a program was
begun in 
    a laboratory at his university ("Rovira i Virgili" University in
Spain) to 
    fill in the "gaps" regarding U toxicity in mammals.  (He also
studied the 
    effects of chelating agents on treating U exposure.)  He (and
    his co-workers) conducted a literature search on the chemical toxic
    of U in mammals.  This search is summarized in Table 1 (p. 604), and
    nine studies, seven of them on mice, and two on rats.  Domingo was
    or co-author of seven of the studies.
    	He briefly explains the separation process leading to DU, saying
that the 
    "radiologic hazard of DU is less than that from natural or enriched 
    uranium," and notes that chemical toxicity occurs at lower exposure
    than does radiologic toxicity.  He goes on to say that one exception
    inhalation exposure, where the main concern in increased cancer
risk.  He 
    then introduces Gulf War Syndrome, describing it as "a poorly
    disease with multiple symptoms and with diversified theories about
    and pathogenesis."  In support of this, Domingo cites three papers,
two of 
    them by A. Durakovic, who has appeared on RADSAFE before, when (in
    Salsman invoked one of the Durakovic papers Domingo cites to support

    Salsman's claim that DU is harmful.  Domingo acknowledges that a 
    Presidential advisory panel stated in 1996 that "there was no
evidence of a 
    connection between DU and Gulf war illnesses."  (Quoting from
Domingo, and 
    not from the panel.)  This brings us to the end of p. 604 of
    	He begins p. 605 with a brief discussion of an airplane wreck in
    Netherlands in 1992.  The plane used DU counterweights, and people
in the 
    crash area attributed their subsequent health problems to the DU.  A
    analysis was performed; and, says Domingo, the "conclusion was that
it was 
    improbable that DU was responsible for the [health] complaints."
    	Next, Domingo cites a 2001 article in the Lancet whose
conclusion Domingo 
    summarizes as being "at any conceivable level of uptake, DU would
have no 
    appreciable radiologic or chemical carcinogenic potential."  He also
    that tumors in the past decade in the former Yugoslavia "cannot" be 
    attributed to DU, and that the only expected effects would be
    damage" to the kidney.  Domingo ends the Introduction by citing the
    few data" about the reproductive effects of DU: a mere two studies,
on rats.
    	In his discussion of the reproductive toxicity of U, Domingo
says that 
    information on this is "scarce," and that most reproductive effects
of U 
    are based on its chemical effect and not on its radioactive effects.
    describes a study on male Swiss rats that was conducted in his
    and says that U exposure either had no effect, or that the observed
    could be attributed to other causes.  (All of this is from p. 605.)
    	Under maternal and embryo/fetal toxicity of uranium, Domingo
says that 
    according to MEDLINE only two references to such studies are
available, and 
    that both of these studies were performed in his laboratory.  It
    that one or two of Domingo's mouse studies has shown some
    effects.  Domingo does not dwell on this, and seems to spend most of
    time discussing the lack of adverse effects on the kidney.  This is
    reasonable, as he stated in the Introduction that the kidney is the
    organ to be affected.
    	In his closing Assessment, Domingo notes that the UNSCEAR has
    that the limits on natural U in drinking water be based on its
    toxicity for the kidney rather than on a hypothetical radiologic
    for skeletal tissue."  (Quoting Domingo, not the UNSCEAR.)  In his 
    penultimate sentence, Domingo says, "Finally, it is important to
note that, 
    to date, most studies on uranium-induced developmental toxicity have
    performed in mice."  (According to his Table 1, the other studies
were in 
    	So, yes, it's true --- DU in the form of uranyl acetate
dihydrate appears 
    to be teratogenic, at least in certain strains of laboratory mice
    rats.  It's also true that not much work has been done an attempt to

    duplicate these findings.  (I imagine the evil military-industrial
    is derailing any such proposed work.)
    	Much more to the point, laboratory mice and rats are not being
exposed to 
    DU in the Balkans, nor are they being exposed to DU in the Middle 
    East.  Humans are, however whether or not results in laboratory mice
    rats can be extrapolated to humans is still a matter of debate.
    although James Salsman may be correct about the teratogenicity of
DU, he is 
    correct only in a very narrow sense.  At present, I do not consider
    very narrow sense to be applicable to much of anything that pertains
    human health and safety.
    Steven Dapra
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