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Explaining How Depleted Uranium Is Killing Civilians,
Free Press January 7, 2005
Depleted uranium weapons and
the untold misery they wreak on mankind are taboo subjects in the mainstream media. There are indications, however, that the
media embargo is about to be breached.
Despite being a grossly under-reported subject in the mainstream media, there
is intense public interest in depleted uranium (DU) and the damage it inflicts on humankind and the environment.
American Free Press is actively investigating DU weapons and how they contribute to Gulf War Syndrome, the corporate-controlled
press virtually ignores the illegal use of DU and its long-lasting effects on the health of veterans and the public.
August 2004 American Free Press published a ground-breaking four-part series on DU weapons and the long-term health risks
they pose to soldiers and civilians alike. Information provided to AFP by experts and scientists, some of it published for
the first time in this paper, has increased public
awareness of how exposure to small particles of DU can severely
affect human health.
Leuren Moret, a Berkeley-based geo-scientist with expertise in atmospheric dust, corresponds
with AFP on DU issues. Recently Moret provided a copy of her correspondence to a British radiation biologist, Dr. Chris Busby,
about how nanometer size particles of DU – less than one-tenth of a micron and smaller – once inhaled or absorbed
into the body, can cause long-term damage to one's health.
Busby is one of the founders of Green Audit, a British
organization that monitors companies "whose activities might threaten the environment and health of citizens."
letter was meant to assist Busby in a legal case being heard in the High Court in London where a former defense worker, Richard
David, 49, is suing Normal Air Garrett, Ltd., an aircraft parts company now owned by Honeywell Aerospace, claiming exposure
to depleted uranium on the job has made his life a "living hell."
David worked as a component fitter on fighter planes
and bombers but had to quit due to health problems. He says he developed a cough within weeks of starting work.
David suffers from a variety of symptoms like those known as Gulf War Syndrome, including respiratory and kidney problems,
bowel conditions and painful joints. Medical tests reveal mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes, which, he says,
could only have been caused by ionizing radiation. He has also been diagnosed with a terminal lung condition.
denies depleted uranium was ever used at the plant in Yeovil, Somerset, where David worked for 10 years until 1995. David
claims that DU's existence at the plant was denied because it is an official secret.
David has asked the High Court
for more time to gather evidence. The hearing is due to resume in April. “I don’t have any legal representation,"
David said, "so I am representing myself. It is a real David versus Goliath case.
“I am confident I will win.
I hope to set a precedent for other cases of people who have suffered from the effects of depleted uranium.”
letter on the particle effect of DU is based on research done by Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist and former scientist
with the Manhattan Project and the National Laboratory at Livermore, California. Fulk, who has developed a "particle theory"
about how DU nano-particles affect human DNA, donates his time and expertise to help bring information about DU to the public.
Asked about Fulk's particle theory, Busby said it is "quite sound." "DU is much more dangerous than they say," Busby
added. "I've always said that it contributes significantly to Gulf War Syndrome."
When Moret's correspondence to Dr.
Busby was posted on the Internet over the New Year's holiday under the title "How Depleted Uranium Weapons Are Killing Our
Troops," some 6,000 people read the letter in the first two days. The following Monday, a producer from the BBC's Panorama
program contacted Moret to arrange an interview.
If the BBC follows up with an investigation on the health effects
of DU, it may be hard for the U.S. media to remain silent. More than 500,000 "Gulf War Era" vets currently receive disability
compensation, many of them for a variety of symptoms generally referred to as Gulf War Syndrome. Experts blame DU for many
of these symptoms.
“The numbers are overwhelming, but the potential horrors only get worse,” Robert C.
Koehler of the Chicago-based Tribune Media Services wrote in an article about DU weapons entitled “Silent Genocide.”
“DU dust does more than wreak havoc on the immune systems of those who breathe it or touch it; the substance
also alters one's genetic code,” Koehler wrote. “The Pentagon's response to such charges is denial, denial, denial.
And the American media is its moral co-conspirator.”
The U.S. government has known for at least twenty years
that DU weapons produce clouds of poison gas on impact. These clouds of aerosolized DU are laden with billions of toxic sub-micron
sized particles. A 1984 Dept. of Energy conference on Nuclear Airborne Waste reported that tests of DU anti-tank missiles
showed that at least 31 percent of the mass of a DU penetrator is converted to nano-particles on impact. In larger bombs the
percentage of aerosolized DU increases to nearly 100 percent, Fulk told AFP.
Depleted uranium is harmful in three
ways, according to Fulk: "Chemical toxicity, radiological toxicity, and particle toxicity." Particles in the nano-meter (one
billionth of a meter) range are a "new breed of cat," Moret wrote. Because the size of the nano-particles allows them to pass
freely throughout the organism and into the nucleus of its cells, exposure to nano-particles causes different symptoms than
exposure to larger particles of the same substance.
Internalized DU particles, Fulk said, act as "a non-specific catalyst"
in both "nuclear and non-nuclear" ways. This means that the uranium particle can affect human DNA and RNA because of both
its chemical and radiological properties. This is why internalized DU particles cause "many, many diseases," Fulk said.
if this is how DU causes severe birth defects, Fulk said, "Yes."
The military is aware of DU's harmful effects on
the human genetic code. A 2001 study of DU's effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology
Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, indicates that DU's chemical instability causes 1 million times more genetic damage
than would be expected from its radiation effect alone, Moret wrote.
Dr. Miller requested that questions be sent in
writing and copied to a military spokesman, but did tell AFP that it should be noted that her studies showing that DU is "neoplastically
transforming and genotoxic" are based on in vitro cellular research.
Studies have shown that inhaled nano-particles
are far more toxic than micro-sized particles of the same basic chemical composition. British toxicopathologist Vyvyan Howard
has reported that the increased toxicity of the nano-particle is due to its size.
For example, when mice were exposed
to virus-size particles of Teflon (0.13 microns) in a Univ. of Rochester study, there were no ill effects. But when mice were
exposed to nano-particles of Teflon for 15 minutes, nearly all the mice died within 4 hours.
"Exposure pathways for
depleted uranium can be through the skin, by inhalation, and ingestion," Moret wrote. "Nano-particles have high mobility and
can easily enter the body. Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles
pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood.
"When inhaled through the nose, nano-particles can cross
the olfactory bulb directly into the brain through the blood brain barrier, where they migrate all through the brain," she
wrote. "Many Gulf Era soldiers exposed to depleted uranium have been diagnosed with brain tumors, brain damage, and impaired
thought processes. Uranium can interfere with the mitochondria, which provide energy for the nerve processes, and transmittal
of the nerve signal across synapses in the brain.
"Damage to the mitochondria, which provide all energy to the cells
and nerves, can cause chronic fatigue syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Hodgkin’s
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