[ RadSafe ] Re: uranium trioxide gas exposure patterns (was: ...RE: Gardner Sellafield cluster)

James Salsman james at bovik.org
Fri May 6 21:17:38 CEST 2005

Dimiter Popoff wrote:

> Are you suggesting that similar quantities of chlorine
> gas do have the the immediate effect you were referring to?
If you are only considering immediate effects, then chlorine
is much more poisonous than uranium, with a LD50/1h of 293 ppm
in air, or 4.4 mg per 5 liter lungful.  The LD50/30d for
kidney failure of uranyl nitrate ranges from 2.1 mg/kg in
rabbits to 51 mg/kg in mice, or around 190 mg to 4.6 grams
for a typical man.

Of the more than 100 documented uranium oxide exposures
from friendly fire incidents in the February, 1991 Gulf War,
about 35 resulted in immediate fatalities.  Almost all of
those exposures were comorbid with at least one of:  burns,
concussion, shock, laceration, puncture, internal bleeding,
fracture, and other very serious problems.  Of course, the
more serious the overall injuries, the greater likelihood of
death.  Does anyone know what fraction of the 35 fatalities
involved acute kidney failure?  Many of those friendly fire
exposures involved multiple grams of oxide, but the greater
exposures had the greater comorbid injuries, so a lot of
them didn't have time for the uranium to get to their
kidneys before they died.  I have been trying to find the
paper that broke the autopsies down into categories for
the last couple of days.  Anyway, we can assume that most
of the exposure victims will not suffer acute kidney
failure over the two weeks it takes for the vast majority
of uranyl ion to clear from the kidneys, because most of
them are alive today.

However, reproductive toxicity is a different situation,
because of the accumulation of uranium in the testes (with
or without multiple cumulative exposures) apparently causes
the same kind of chronic and cumulative damage to the
chromosomes of the spermatogonia cells as it does to the
DNA in peripheral lymphocytes.  That implies that the birth
defect rate would increase over time, which is consistent
with U.S., U.K., and Iraqi data.  Here is a graph of the
congenital malformation incidence rate in Basrah:

What I am getting at is this:  Will that trend continue to
increase throughout the life of the exposed male?  If so,
and if the analogy with lymphocytes holds, then there will
probably be a sudden explosion of leukemia in veterans at
some point.  The Balkan veterans already have experienced
suddenly very high leukemia rates starting around 2001,
which the 1991 Gulf War veterans have not experienced, as
far as I know, yet.

> those in the battlefield ... are exposed to hazards which
> completely outweigh that of DU....

Time will tell.  Until we have accurate long-term morbidity
and mortality rates from exposure, the government can not be
forthright about the toxicity.  Under such conditions, those
who agree to military service (not to mention their present
and future families) do not have the information necessary to
understand the risks involved and thus give their valid
consent.  Military recruiters shielding the whole truth from
recruits is certainly nothing new, but until we have an
adequate understanding of the harm done by the reproductive
toxicity and eventual leukemia, there is no way to determine
whether the strategic disadvantages of uranium weaponry
outweigh their tactical advantages.

James Salsman

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