[ RadSafe ] Scotland Herald - Depleted uranium turns earthwormsinto glowworms

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Mar 17 10:44:20 CDT 2008

I would bet actual money that the people who claim to have found
"...uranium isotopic signatures strongly influenced by DU" could
distinguish between worms collected on site and those from background
stations in a double-blind study.  I would bet even more money that
their results do not present, to an impartial but knowledgeable eye,
evidence of DU vs. U(nat). 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 8:50 PM
To: radsafelist
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Scotland Herald - Depleted uranium turns
earthwormsinto glowworms

This sounds pretty bogus - worms have significant traces of poisonous
uranium isotopes 


Depleted uranium turns earthworms into glowworms

Fears that radioactive material has tainted ecosystem. By Jasper Hamill

EARTHWORMS WERE pushed into the firing line last week after a resumption
of the testing of depleted uranium shells at Dundrennan.

Significant levels of radioactive uranium isotopes were found in the
flesh of worms at the Ministry of Defence's Dumfries weapons range last
Despite concerns from environmentalists and the international community,
the MoD last week started a series of tests of depleted uranium (DU)
shells, supposed "safety checks".

A report published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring found that
worms in the Dumfries testing ground had significant traces of poisonous
uranium isotopes in their bodies.

Worms are a crucial part of the ecosystem, aerating the soil and aiding
the nutrient uptake of plants. If they are contaminated, it suggests the
wider environment is tainted.

The report said: "Many of the soil samples from the Dundrennan Firing
Range had uranium concentrations and isotopic signatures indicative of
contamination with DU. Furthermore, plants and earthworms collected from
above and within contaminated soils respectively also had uranium
isotopic signatures strongly influenced by DU, indicating that DU was
indeed assimilated into biological tissues."

More than 6000 DU shells have been fired into the Solway Firth at
Dundrennan, amounting to more than 20 tons of nuclear waste. The tests
have been linked to increased rates of cancer and leukaemia in the area.

Opposition to their use is hardening, after a vote at the United Nations
General Assembly, won by 136 states to five, required states to submit
files on the health implications of DU. Britain was one of the states to
vote against it.

The Scottish government criticised the new tests. An SNP spokeswoman
"We want to ask the secretary of state for defence about the UK's
position with regard to these international developments. Although we
don't have any powers over defence policy, we are responsible for the
health and wellbeing of the people and service personnel of Scotland."

Depleted uranium is used to make hard tips for armour-piercing rounds.
When they explode, the uranium turns into a fine powder which is carried
on the wind for miles around. In Iraq and Kosovo, the use of the shells
has been blamed for horrific birth defects as well as being implicated
in causing Gulf war syndrome.

Robin Harper, Scottish Green Party MSP, said: "There is no safe place to
test these shells, and there is no appropriate battlefield to use them
on either. The MoD should commit to the ban requested by the European

The MoD insisted the tests would be safe. It said: "Comprehensive
environmental monitoring programmes involving air, water and soil
sampling have been in place at and around Kirkcudbright since the
beginning of the DU munitions trials. The findings continue to show DU
does not pose a significant risk to the environment or to members of the
public or site personnel."

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