[ RadSafe ] Re: Explanation for Gulf War illness?

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Fri May 30 20:20:36 CDT 2008

May 30

         Below I will compare some of James Salsman's statements in this 
thread with other of his statements.  He will be identified as JS.

         On May 23 Roy Herren wrote: "James/Ben are you asserting that only 
your postulated teratogenic effects of uranium could possible account for 
any increase in birth defects in Basra?"  James/Ben's response was "Yes".

Shortly after that (on May 27), I wrote: "No one's children were hurt by DU 
smoke."  James Salsman's response was, "You prove your error by such 
absolutist statements."

         More duplicity:

         On May 21, JS and I were in a dispute about birth 
defects.  Eventually, he wrote, "Steven, you are confusing 'major' 
congenital abnormalities (which require hospitalization) as reported in the 
Kuwaiti paper with 'significant' (defects which in most U.S. states must be 
reported to the parents) which number far more."

         JS is comparing "major" defects as defined in Kuwait, with 
"significant" defects as defined in "most U.S. states."  Not all states, 
"most" states.  In all of this JS has not presented a definition of these 
two words.  He then wrote, "Here is a web page from Virginia that explains 
the nomenclature: 
http://vdhems.vdh.virginia.gov/pls/vacares/vacares.navigate?v_id=34."  Now, 
we have gone from "most" states to only one.  And why did JS select 
Virginia?  Could it be that VA has the highest incidence of birth defects 
in the US?  I do not know.  I find it odd that he would select one state, 
instead of giving birth defects for the entire nation.

         As I noted in a message yesterday, I looked at this link and found 
that it has four links within it.  The initial link does not define "major" 
or "significant."  It merely gives some rudimentary statistics about the 
types of birth defects that had occurred in VA in a certain period of 
time.  I looked at two of the four internal links, and they were simply 
lists of defects and their incidence rates.  Neither of these links defined 
"major" or "significant."  By their titles, it was obvious that the other 
two links were also and only to lists of defects.

JS said that the web page from VA would 'explain the nomenclature.'  You 
can check the dictionary for the definition of nomenclature, and you'll 
find that this VA web site does not explain any nomenclature.  If JS's 
defense of his positions is what passes for refutation these days, we're in 

         On May 27, Bjorn Cedervall asked, "Can anyone provide the key 
scientific references (peer reviewed) that provide evidence for DU being a 

         JS replied with these citations (reproduced as he posted them):

1. Arfsten, D.P., et al. (2001) "A review of the effects of uranium  and 
depleted uranium exposure on reproduction and fetal development," 
Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 17, pp. 180-91. Summary contains: "A 
number of studies have shown that natural uranium is a  reproductive 
toxicant...." (U.S. Navy Toxicology Detachment) 

2. Domingo, J.L. (2001) "Reproductive and developmental toxicity of natural 
and depleted uranium: a review," Reproductive Toxicology, vol. 15, pp. 
603-9. Abstract: "Decreased fertility, embryo/fetal toxicity including 
teratogenicity, and reduced growth of the offspring have been observed 
following uranium exposure at different gestation periods." 

3. Hindin, R., et al. (2005) "Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: 
A review from an epidemiological perspective," Environmental Health, vol. 
4, pp. 17. Conclusion: "the human epidemiological evidence is consistent 
with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to 
DU." http://www.ehjournal.net/content/4/1/17 (full text)

         Arfsten is a review paper. The authors endorse more rodent 
studies, and the last sentence of the paper says, "Alternatively, exposure 
to DU alloy may have no adverse impact on rodent reproductive success or 
fetal development."

         According to the "Results" of Hindin et al., "Animal studies 
firmly support the possibility that DU is a teratogen."  Note the qualifier 
"possibility."  Anyone who will read Hindin et al. with a critical eye will 
find that the authors are much more vague and uncertain that JS makes them 
out to be.  And, yes, I have read Hindin et al.  Later today, or perhaps 
tomorrow, I will have more to say about J.L. Domingo's 2001 paper.

         As we all know, the dose makes the poison.  In the case of 
uranium, the size of that dose seems to still be a matter of debate and 
uncertainty.  There is also the matter of whether or not anyone has been 
exposed to enough DU for it to be teratogenic.  As even JS has admitted, 
there is at least the confounding factor of diet.

         Within the preceding six or eight days, Dan Palmer explained to us 
something about the Navy's use of DU and tungsten.  (I don't have Dan's 
e-mail and can't recall the details.)  In his non-reply to this, JS assumed 
a snippy tone of voice and asked Dan if he had any "financial interest" in 
the matter of DU or tungsten.  For some thirty years, I have found this to 
be a typical response from people of JS's ilk.  Everyone they don't like is 
being dragged around by the almighty dollar.  This accusation comes from a 
genre of individuals who pride themselves on not being materialists, and 
who also pride themselves on their ability to denounce materialists.

Steven Dapra

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