[ RadSafe ] uranium smoke is a teratogen

Ben Fore BenjB4 at gmail.com
Sat May 17 19:05:49 CDT 2008

Dan, thank you again for, as usual, a really good message.

I agree that foliate deficiency had an affect on birth defects in Iraq,
but not among the U.S. or Kuwaiti people in the same area, just as
anthrax vaccine increased the birth defects among U.S. troops,
but not enough to explain the increase.

On a related note, Eric Olsen has written a series of four articles on
the same sand from Kuwait's Camp Doha DU munitions dump fire
which Dr. Salbu has been studying, which is now with the American
Ecology disposal company in Idaho:

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 5:29 PM, Dan W McCarn <hotgreenchile at gmail.com> wrote:

> a close friend (my sister-in-law) who has lived in southern Iraq since 1978
> has repeatedly confirmed issues about CONTINUOUS malnutrition because of
> Saddam Hussein's behavior toward the Shia majority, especially since the
> First Gulf War, but also prior to that in the Iran-Iraq War....
> After this last war, when she was finally able to call (using a GI's cell
> phone) and she confirmed these factors.  I tend to believe her far more than
> "reports" from the media.

How do you explain the Kuwaitis?  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16700386

See also http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18008151 --
immunodeficiencies were not nearly as prevalent in Kuwait in 1990,
and were are not talking about anything transmissible (yet?)

> Given the endowment of uranium naturally present in the soils of
> southern Iraq....

What fraction is soluble, and of that what fraction dissolves into uranyl at pH
range 1.0-9.0?  I know that's a pretty wide range for uranium chemistry, so
if it's not a fair range, please say for lung, blood, and stomach pH ranges.

> the added DU is a very tiny fraction of the available U in soils.  I
> suggest that the annual addition of normal phosphate fertilizers represents
> a significantly larger source for uranium than DU as well as natural uranium
> from groundwater....  You may not be aware, but Syria and Iraq both host
> uranium-bearing marine phosphorites (phosphate ore), so the uranium-bearing
> fertilizers are locally available.  Iraq used these resources as a source
> for their uranium weapons program.

How do you know that?  Wouldn't we have heard about that as a justification
for the occupation when the suggestion of Nigerian yellowcake failed?

> Quoting Fathallah, "Peterson S, reported on a calf that born with a cleft
> lip, which occurs after Chernobyl disaster. Calves are never born with a
> cleft lips."

I agree that the universal quantifier is false.  Perhaps the author intended
to follow it with, "to my knowledge."

In addition to the Iraqi's lack of folate, some of the anthrax vaccines had
an increase in birth defects in clinical trials:

But that still leaves Kuwaitis unexplained (unless they bought a whole lot
of bad anthrax vaccine?)

> Uptake of uranium into crops is a function of the labile (as opposed to
> refractory) uranium concentration in the upper soil zone which is governed
> by 1) Annual source term (natural and anthropogenic); 2) Years of buildup;
> 3) Soil conditions (density, moisture, etc.); 4) Leaching Coefficient; 5)
> Soil concentration (from the first four factors); and 6) Transfer
> coefficient to a plant.  See McCarn, 2004, TECDOC-1396, pp.301-304.

If you really want to answer this question, you need to say what
fraction of effluent from point sources -- constrained within a much
smaller area than all of Iraq -- entered human lung or stomachs.
If that is too hard, how much flowed into potable water, and was
what fraction of it?

> Given a back-of-the-envelope comparison, assuming 5 ppm of U in soils in
> Iraq, the amount of natural uranium in 1 square meter (33.33 cm deep) is
> about 3 grams per square meter of uranium.  If aerosols from 10% of the 75
> Tonnes...

More like 300,000 tons; you used only the Abrams tank sabot DU, and
ignored the 30 mm, 25 mm, and 20 mm penetrator bullets --


-- some of which have more than 270 g of uranium core.  Something like
18% of that burned on impact, and most of the penetrators do fracture, melt,
or otherwise lose a lot of their mass from their kinetic energy, so you have
to assume an increased surface area for further erosion the next time the
rains come and wash away part of the metal's oxide coat.

> distributed over southern Iraq (1/3 of 437,072 Sq. Km)....

The firing of DU rounds in February, 1991, was constrained to
this region:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:GWI_DU_map.gif

Good luck,

James Salsman, writing as Ben Fore

> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
> Of Ben Fore
> Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2008 11:29 PM
> To: Steven Dapra; radsafelist
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] uranium smoke is a teratogen
> First, I join those who have thanked Dan McCarn. His knowlege
> of uranium hydrology and geophysics in general is vast, and his
> messages are very welcome and very helpful.
> Steve,
> Thanks again for your repeated request:
>> When are you going to present some evidence that DU smoke is a teratogen?
> I have, here:  http://lists.radlab.nl/pipermail/radsafe/2008-May/009894.html
> I am not sure if you are trying to imply that it is not.
> Do you think uranium smoke is not teratogenic or not?
> Do you think it dissolves into uranyl ions in lung fluid or not?
> Do you think that uranyl is teratogenic or not?
> Sincerely,
> James Salsman, as Ben Fore

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