[ RadSafe ] Uranium in hair, epidemiology and birth defects

Harrison, Tony Tony.Harrison at dphe.state.co.us
Wed Oct 12 12:40:19 CDT 2011

You say "these findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases."  If that is true, a case control study would be an excellent way to support it, in that we would expect cases to have a higher burden of uranium than the controls.  All you've really shown is that people in Fallujah have higher burdens than those in Sweden. 

Your evidence that congenital defects are higher in Fallujah seems to be based on questionable literature, and your use of infant mortality as a proxy for birth defects ("Because of the lack of knowledge of the respondents in this questionnaire about the precise cause of death of their children, that study focused on infant mortality as an indicator of birth defects.")  You blatantly reject evidence that the rates are actually low ("The low rates from congenital malformation reported are hardly credible (Table 1).") without providing any better evidence.  That's not just massaging data, or cherry picking data, that's manufacturing data out of pretty thin air.  Your comparison to Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait is faulty.

IF a cause and effect relationship exists between uranium exposure and birth defects, we would expect it to be dose dependent.  If "everyone was contaminated" the differences measured between cases and controls could provide important evidence of safe levels and/or a threshold.  Any half-bright grad student could figure it out.  Of course if no significant difference is found, it undercuts your whole theory.

Having measured a lot of environmental uranium over the years, by ICP-MS and by alpha spectrometry, I'm not impressed by small variations in isotope ratios.  The samples I've seen with truly "enriched uranium" have ratios so far from natural it's not even a fair comparison.  Concentrations are small, uncertainties are large: you're seeing natural uranium, no matter how much you wish it were otherwise.

It all makes me wonder what the editors of "Conflict and Health" were looking at, spelling errors?

Tony Harrison, MSPH
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Laboratory Services Division

Dear Tony Harrison MSPH

It is a difference in Uranium content (and Uranium isotopes) in hair between Sweden and Fallujah. 
It has nothing to do with pre and ante natal care in Sweden and Fallujah.
Why would you imagine Uranium in hair has anything to do with pre and ante natal care in Sweden? What is your logic??????????

If you are saying that the levels of Congenital anomalies are higher in Iraq than in Sweden becasue of pre/ante natal care you are wrong. We disposed of that one in a previous paper where we compared with Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait and indeed in this one were we draw attemntion to the significant increase in congenital anomalies in the children of Gulf War veterans.

The reason there were no controls for births without congenital anomalies is that everyone was contaminated. The controls were Sweden, Israel, other countries where U was measured in hair. Check the paper.

Buit what none of you have commented on is the fact that we measured ENRICHED Uranium.


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at agni.phys.iit.edu on behalf of Harrison, Tony
Sent: Tue 11/10/2011 15:15
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 769, Issue 1
Had he picked controls from Fallujah who DID NOT have babies with abnormalities, he could have made a nice case/control study out of it.  It's not likely that he'd have seen an effect from uranium, so I guess that explains why he didn't do that.

I think he's mostly comparing the quality of pre-natal care in Sweden to that in Iraq.  Significant difference!  I'm shocked!

Tony Harrison, MSPH
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Laboratory Services Division

Date: Sun, 09 Oct 2011 10:02:52 -0700
From: "Otto G. Raabe" <ograabe at ucdavis.edu>
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 764, Issue 3
To: "The International Radiation Protection \(Health Physics\) Mailing
	List"	<radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu>
Message-ID: <20111009170553.113A4471CC78 at agni.phys.iit.edu>
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At 12:47 AM 10/7/2011, Busby, Chris wrote:
>     Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of 
> children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq
>Samira Alaani, Muhammed Tafash, Christopher Busby, Malak Hamdan and 
>Eleonore Blaurock-Busch Conflict and Health 2011, 5:15 (2 September 2011)
The chemical analysis in this study may be okay, but the logic 
surrounding the so-called effects in this paper is fatally flawed. 
Traces of uranium are in food and water, and everybody has some 
uranium in the body. However, it is one of the least toxic of the 
heavy metals.

It. is not surprising that there may be significant differences in 
traces of uranium in people who live in different parts of world.

Guilt by selective association is not science. I do not believe that 
this paper could ever be accepted by any major epidemiology journal.

In one of the classes that taught at UCD I had the students read 
"Deadly Deceit" by Jay Gould and Benjamin Goldman (1990) so that 
could recognize the faulty one-dimensional logic of the dedicated 
anti-nuclear activists such as Busby.


Prof. Otto G. Raabe, Ph.D., CHP
Center for Health & the Environment
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
E-Mail: ograabe at ucdavis.edu
Phone: (530) 752-7754   FAX: (530) 758-6140

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