(en) DU radioactive weapons & Gulf War Syndrome

International Action Center (iacenter@iacenter.org)
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 16:01:18 -0500

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Depleted Uranium Education Project A Project of the International Action Center 39 W. 14th St. #206, NY, NY 10011 Ph:(212) 633-6646, Fx: 633-2889 email: iacenter@iacenter.org

Immediate Attention: June 24, 1997 Press Contacts: (212) 633-6646 Sara Flounders, Frank Alexander

Depleted Uranium Weapons Ignored in Gulf Report Groups Demand Independent Investigation

The Depleted Uranium Education Project demands that a complete and independent investigation into the toxicological and radiological effects of the use of depleted uranium weapons during the Persian Gulf War begin immediately. All documents concerning DU exposures must be released to the public.

The recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report, to be released next week, is critical of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Veterans' Illnesses and the Pentagon for their investigation of GWS, yet there continues to be no mention of the widespread use of highly toxic and radioactive depleted uranium weapons and their health effects on Gulf veterans.

Prior GAO reports, clearly state the health risks resulting from of the use of DU weapons. The GAO/NSIAD report, January 1993, entitled Operation Desert Storm: Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal With Depleted Uranium Contamination reveals, * "DU oxide dust, which is formed as a result of the DU being subjected to the intense heat that results from the round's penetration of the vehicle ... poses both a radioactive and a toxicity risk. Personnel working on or inside the contaminated vehicles can come into contact with the DU dust by either inhaling it or ingesting it." (p. 17) * "Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk.."(p. 17-18)

More than 14,000 large caliber rounds (105mm and 120mm) and over 940,000 small caliber rounds (25mm and 30mm) were fired in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, scattering between 600,000 and 1,500,000 pounds of depleted uranium waste throughout the Persian Gulf. The omission of the consequences depleted uranium from the recent GAO report and Presidential commission report is criminally negligent; it has compromised the health of civilians and soldiers, resulted in further contamination of the environment in the Persian Gulf and on US and overseas military bases, and will result in increased exposures to depleted uranium in future military conflicts.

In just one example of DU contamination, a July 11, 1991 fire at the U.S. Army Blackhorse Base in Doha, Kuwait destroyed more than 660 large-caliber DU tank rounds, 9,720 small-caliber DU rounds, and four M1A1 tanks with DU armor. Over 9,000 pounds of DU penetrators were lost in the fire exposing thousands of vets to airborne uranium oxides. Despite the known health problems of Vets, the U.S. Army's CHPPM report on exposures to Depleted Uranium at Doha has not been released to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses and U.S. troops continue to be stationed at Doha.

An independent investigation of DU weapons exposures must begin immediately. The DU Education Project has documented DU exposures in the book METAL OF DISHONOR, available by calling 1-800-247-6553.


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