[ RadSafe ] uranium smoke is a teratogen
Dan W McCarn
hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Fri May 23 00:54:17 CDT 2008
Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA;
mccarn at unileoben.ac.at HotGreenChile at gmail.com
UConcentrate at gmail.com
Since you invoked my name, I need to respond:
I have no interest in driving the uranium thing forward at all. There are
too many other important factors that deserve objective review and analysis
besides chasing a someone's political Red Herring which does great
disservice to the people there. After my two years at Chernobyl, I was and
still am furious at public attention being drawn away from the real scourge
- dire poverty, malnutrition & emotional stress with little prophylactic
health care (e.g. vaccines for children). The five leading increased causes
of death in the evacuated Chernobyl victims compared to those who remained
are 1) Suicide; 2) Drug & alcohol abuse; 3) Diabetes; 4) Heart disease; and
5) Stroke. These are STRESS RELATED DISEASES! But to hear the press talk
about it, it's something else! These leading risk factors are never
It is human nature to want to "blame", but no single "targeted" sampling
will mean anything until the other factors are fully elaborated. And
frankly, it is my understanding that most "causes" of birth defects cannot
be determined with any level of certainty. Malnutrition, poverty, stress,
fear, multi-generational effects, generations of consanguineous marriages
are known culprits (thus the jokes about Arkansas). Why haven't they been
elaborated on when they are proven to cause significant birth defects. The
old Royal and Noble families of Europe had quite famous birth defects with
In the words of William Butler Yeats, "Belief makes the mind abundant".
As an example, I keep hearing that the Romanian experience with birth
defects, auto-abortion, etc, was caused by Chernobyl. The only problem is
that the winds did not carry the Chernobyl radiation there, though the
Romanian people BELIEVED it did, and that was enough! Having cared for
Romanian refugees through the Austrian Red Cross, I can attest to the much
higher risk to pregnant Romanian women (compared to Austrian women) during
this time but there were key factors including unrelenting stress, fear,
malnutrition, dislocation and civil war. During the Romanian exodus to
Central Europe, I met with dozens of refugees as a member of the Austrian
Red Cross helping to document and prepare emigration applications all over
the world and in some cases, finding skilled employment. In one case that I
documented for the Red Cross, the married/pregnant woman was systematically
raped, week after week after week, by the Seguridad who threatened to kill
her husband if she refused to allow the rapes. That woman spent her last
trimester in the Leoben General Hospital because of her very poor overall
health, severe anemia and attending psychological factors. Yet, the urban
myth still exists that these troubles are caused by Chernobyl.
I suspect that you will find little or no contribution by uranium at all in
Iraq except anecdotal or misrepresentations easily disproved such as the
Fathallah paper. No renal enzymes, no trace of DU, nothing in the general
population! Why? Because of the fate and transport mechanisms that drive
uranium that I've outlined and the very, very tiny contribution (compared to
natural sources) that DU would play. It is a classic "Red Herring".
James, it is very easy to say the radiation background is "elevated", but
another to systematically lay out evidence for that. Here is the rub: 0)
Geographic locations away from populations; 1) transfer to soil; 2) buildup;
3) transfer to plant; 4) Transfer to groundwater, 5) Transport and 6)
transfer to animals / humans through a multi-pathway manner. Why aren't
people living in higher radiation environments subject to these same
effects? E.g. Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California,
Tennessee (Chattanooga Shale), Mid-Continent (Pierre Shale), Kolm Shale
(Sweden), Central Massif in France, Bohemian Massif in Check Republic, etc.
all have a significantly elevated crustal abundances of uranium.
Remember, this thread started-out as smoke, but not even Fathallah makes
I also noticed in the Basrah paper no reference to any other potential known
factors but only examined radiation: "presumably due to exposure of pregnant
women to radiation which exceeds 3000 mrads." The reference is to a
"Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics". That's a little "generic", don't you
think? He did not state "documented exposure" but "presumed exposure".
In other words, he has no clue about the radiation dose or if there is a
radiation dose, and is not interested in the other potential causes.
One last thing: not all scientific papers in this day and age are
peer-reviewed. In fact, I'd say that only a small fraction are effectively
reviewed especially in the reports that you mentioned. When I worked on the
Yucca Mountain Site Characterization report, an enormous effort was taken to
validate every citation in preparation for a formal peer review. It is not
sufficient to just "pile on" references, they must be cogent and meaningful
and very specific. There was a time when I had more references checked-out
of the Yucca Mountain library than all other workers put together. I even
had my own reading room for organizing the peer review.
Comments like "most probably radiation emitted from weapons used in the
aggression against Iraq" in the Basrah paper clearly sets a political agenda
to a paper, inappropriate in a scientific setting, but clearly playing to
some other audience. There is not a single reference in the above
supporting Fathallah's (2007) clear evidence of dietary stress,
deterioration of living conditions, heat, and other factors he did not
mention such as generations of consanguineous marriage, or
multi-generational effects of dietary deficiencies.
I tend to believe my sister-in-law's critical need for food back during the
early-mid 80s which is politely not even mentioned. Yet I know from family,
that they were under severe dietary stress.
Having lived in Central Europe from 1980-1991, 1995-1996 and 2003 I can
attest to the extreme anxiety and even panic from the "possible" effects of
Chernobyl. But the real effects on peoples' lives around Chernobyl have
been grinding poverty, malnutrition, childhood diseases, dysentery, and the
outbreak of stress-related diseases.
James, I am beggared by your comments.
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of Steven Dapra
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:50 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] uranium smoke is a teratogen
I don't think I posted this to RADSAFE so here it is. My
apologies if it is a duplicate posting.
I would like to contribute some comments on this message. They
will be interspersed, and prefaced with SD.
(From James Salsman/Ben Fore, replying to Dan McCarn.)
If you want to rule uranium out, isn't in your interest to call on your
colleagues, associates, and the scientific community at large to
quantify the precise amount of reproductive damage uranyl exposure does to
many different kinds of mammals at many different dosages?
If not, why not?
Doing this quantification would be difficult, extremely expensive,
and would probably serve no purpose. In addition, the results would
probably be inconclusive.
Please review the data in this paper from the Medical Journal of Basra
This paper shows an increase in birth defects from 1990 to
1998. The Abstract ends by saying, "The above findings indicate clearly
that there must be an exposure to a teratogenic factor prior to 1995 most
probably radiation emitted from weapons used in the aggression against
Iraq." All the authors did was count birth defects, and even though the
data are probably correct, they present no evidence to substantiate their
assertion about the cause of the defects being exposure to radiation.
In each year the number of birth defects is less than one percent
of the number of births. Birth defects can be expected in three percent of
births, so the defect rate in this study is well below the number of
defects that would be expected to occur. The highest percent of defects
occurred in 1998, when there were 10186 births, and 79 defects. This is
0.8 percent (rounded to the nearest tenth). In its Methodology section,
the authors even acknowledge that there was a "relatively small number of
cases". The study was conducted in only one city (Basra).
In the Discussion, the authors write, "The fact that radioactivity
of samples obtained from plants, soil and water in Basrah exceeded the
natural background level, makes the hypothesis that the increased incidence
of congenital anomalies due to such radiation more tenable." This is so
silly it defies description. The authors conveniently omit any radiation
levels. And --- of course --- they drag in Chernobyl.>>>>>
Do you maintain that foliate deficiency and the use of phosphate fertilizer
or both could result in such a sharp increase in less than
a decade? The vast majority listed were not related to neural tube closure
defects, which foliate deficiency causes.
Wouldn't it be in everyone's interest to know exactly what uranyl exposure
does, and in what amounts at different doses?>>>>>
Since the study is worthless, there is no need to comment on
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