April 1, 2009 by cgsstlouischapter
Bud Deraps <email@example.com>
The best kept secret in America today is the deadly effect our Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons are having not only on our enemies but also on our own soldiers and aid workers who have served since the 1991 Gulf War when they were first used. DU not only kills and maims, but continues to kill for centuries.
Depleted uranium is used in weapons because it is heavier than other metals and thus penetrates better. Used in weapons from shoulder-mounted rockets and missiles to our largest bunker-busting bombs, each time one explodes, millions of tiny dust size toxic uranium particles fly into the air, soil and water, to be carried aloft by sandstorms plus helicopter take offs and landings. Air currents then carry them far and wide. Just 9 days after the massive bombings began in Iraq in 2003, the radiation level in England soared to 19 times the natural rate.
Readily inhaled, even small amounts lodge in the lungs and can lead to lung and many other cancers. When a person becomes DU contaminated, their DNA is permanently altered, and they are subject to bearing children with minor to extreme birth defects or that are miscarried, premature, or still born.
On my 2001 visit to Iraq with the Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project, in meetings with medical, scientific and university experts, we were given an epidemiological study that documents the proven deadly effect DU is having on the health and reproductive lives of the Iraq people. We also were shown dozens of pictures of extremely deformed babies born there. Iraq has reported that 56% of all new cancer cases occur in children age 5, or younger. Very few of these studies have been allowed to leave Iraq.
Despite restricted release here of US veteran birth defect data, the Birth Defect Research for Children in Florida did a study that showed that Gulf War veterans parented 2 to 4 times more children with 31 specific birth defects than those who had not served in the Gulf.
Meanwhile here, denial still controls center stage. For example, in Dec, 2007, Dr. Kilpatrik, Deputy Director of the Pentagon’s Department of Health Affairs stated in Stars and Stripes that the US military has yet to discover a case of an American service member becoming ill due to it’s use of Depleted Uranium over the past few decades. In Sept. 2007, however, the Public Health Surveillance Org. reported “VA withholds data for up to 70,000 veteran cases a year from US cancer registries.”
If DU is so harmless, why did we bring from Kuwait a huge shipload of DU contaminated soil to a waste depot in our northwest while publicly stating that Iraq is totally responsible to clean up their own toxic waste now that they have oil money that can pay for it?
In the last few years, 4 states have passed bills mandating DU contamination testing for all their Gulf National Guard veterans. To date, I have not heard of any testing being done. Could the $1000 cost for the state of the art test be the cause?
I have proposed to US Congress members of the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees that they mandate offering DU contamination tests to all Gulf veterans since 1991 and also, early pre-natal birth defect testing for to all military family where one or both have served there. No response as yet.