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More on DU
At least this story is better balanced--it acknowledges differing
opionions in the scientific community. I do wonder how a DU particle
can lodge in a lymph node.
Panel says depleted uranium shells leave birth defects, death
By JOHN O'CALLAGHAN
LONDON, (July 30, 1999 12:04 p.m. EDT
http://www.nandotimes.com) - Scientists said in London at a
conference on Friday that depleted uranium shells leave
a legacy of birth defects and death, warning that
radioactive ammunition will cause the same health
problems in Kosovo as it has in Iraq.
"One single particle of depleted uranium lodged in the
lymph node can devastate the entire immune system,"
Dr. Roger Coghill, an experimental biologist, told the
conference on links between depleted uranium (DU) and
cancers in Iraq.
"We know that some one million DU bullets were fired
(during the Gulf War) and many still lie in the Gulf
desert, causing clearly serious cancers and birth
defects. The connection between the two is biologically
Part of the problem with the debate over the effects of
depleted uranium is a lack of hard, scientific data. What
little does exist is seized upon by one side to disprove
Some critics say chemical weapons used by Iraqi forces
in the 1980-88 war with Iran are the real reason for the
health problems in southern Iraq.
Declassified U.S. documents show that U.S. forces fired
about 944,000 rounds of the cigar-sized DU ammunition
in Iraq and Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War.
Depleted uranium is favored as a tank- and
bunker-buster because its extreme density allows it to
punch through armor and concrete.
Professor Mona Kammas, a member of Iraq's Committee
of Pollution Impact by Aggressive Bombing, said an
increase in birth defects in parts of Iraq had been
caused by depleted uranium as she displayed
photographs of deformed babies.
"When we studied the nearest to the depleted uranium
sources, the more abnormalities we got," she later told
Reuters. "This material is radioactive and hazardous to
man, animals and plants."
Thousands of Iraqi military personnel and civilians were
affected by the after-effects of the shells, Kammas
Coghill, who runs his own research center in Gwent,
Wales, said smoke and dust from the impact of the
rounds can carry radioactive particles hundreds of
meters (yards) into the air and several hundred
kilometers (miles) downwind.
The use of DU shells in Kosovo, fired mostly from U.S.
A-10 "tank-busting" planes, was endangering the health
of returning refugees, peacekeepers, aid workers and
the people of neighboring countries, he said.
"We think that in the Kosovo conflict, as a result of
(immune-related disorders), there will be some 10,000
deaths from cancer," he added.
Kammas said Western governments had not discussed
the problem because they do want their soldiers to
know of the hazards, adding it was up to the United
States to clean up Iraq.
Some of the other scientists and doctors, while not
drawing a parallel between the cancers and DU
ammunition, blamed years of international sanctions
against Iraq as a major contributor to health problems.
To draw attention to the health situation in Iraq, British
Labor MP George Galloway said he and members of the
charity Mariam Appeal would drive from London to
Baghdad in a converted double-decker bus this autumn.
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