CADU Postcard Campaign Makes MoD's Day
AFirstly a big thank you to everyone who sent off their postcards to
Mr Hoon MP.
It would seem that the MoD decided that DU was in fact dangerous to health
and that its troops should be informed. Unfortunately they neglected to
inform the population of Iraq,which seems a little short sighted given
that they have to actually live there.
Some of the more memorable statements from them include accusing Iraqi doctors of lying and claiming that chromosomal damage does not cause illness. What follows is our take on some of the issues raised.
The MoD is finally offering urine tests to Gulf War veterans, which is a positive step forward. Unfortunately, and in true MoD style, said urine tests are probably not the best indicator of DU exposure.The ceramicised DU dust formed when DU rounds hit their targets is prettyinsoluble stuff. This means that once it is lodged in the lungs it dissolves extremely slowly. A proportion of the DU dust is soluble and what is not laid down in bones and the brain leaves the body fairly quickly.
The insoluble portion, however, will only exit the body very slowly and
in minute amounts. We have asked the MoD for more details of their tests
as they need tobe extremely precise to accurately measure the trace amounts
We are encouraging the MoD to use thetest developed by Professor Schott.
This is based on radiation damage at a chromosomal level. The test measures
the number of dicentric and ring chromosomes in a subjects cells.
These have been used as
Our next concern is with their exposure levels. The MoD are using figures
provided by the Royal Societys DU investigation. These state that
troops are unlikely to be affected unless they are exposed underextreme
circumstances, e.g. being in
High exposure can also come about through returning to a vehicle to help injured comrades. While all this is fine for troops in theatre, there seems to be very little information on, or concern about, post-conflict exposure.
It does not take a genius to realise that battle wreckage will have an almost magnetic effect on children. Playing in DU damaged vehicles is bound to expose children to dangerous levels of DU dust over a long period of time. But in most of the responses we have seen, there does not seem to be much mention of civilian exposure. Nor comment on the arid dusty conditions in Iraq and the propagation of dust clouds.
To give them their due though, in one response they assured us that the MoD has been exchanging information withmany humanitarian and commercial organisations operating in Iraq with a view to helping out with epidemiological studies.
They also claim to be supporting the WHOs proposals to conduct
scientific studies to determine any association between DU exposure and
reported increases in childhood leukemia and birth defects. Although in
a different response they claimed
What they fail to mention, is a timeframe. Only a minor detail of course
but one that we hope to pin them down on in the near future. Now that
Iraq is a peaceful beacon of democracy, a decent independent epidemiological
study cant be too far
Chromosomal changes can arise from any number of different exposures
to ionising radiation...there is no proof that these changes result in
any ill health. Now, we want to believe the MoD, we really do, they
have gone to so much effort replying
So where do we go from here? Well, the only way forward is to keep writing. We shall try and get a compilation or greatest hits gallery of the replies we have been sent on the website. This should help you draft your responses. If there is any background information that you need and that cannot be found on the website or in our information pack, drop us a line at the office and we will try our best to answer your queries.
Finally our thanks to everyone who has posted us copies of the MoDs replies. Keep them coming.
Should you be interested in writing to the MoD for some clarification on depleted uranium issues, here are some tips to help make the most of your postage.
Do your background research - there is no point in making their jobs too easy. Check the CADU website for the MoDs greatest hits.If you need any assistance contact CADU for the latest DU information. Email or telephone is easiest for us.
Make sure your letters are individualised: there is no point in sending a series of identical letters as you will just receive identical answers.
Read, read and read again - jargon seems to the watchword of those at the MoD. Their peculiar brand of military jive is extremely effective at sending the brain to sleep.
Challenge everything - they can sound pretty convincing but, upon closer inspection, many of their claims begin to fall apart.
Ask for sources and references - they are tremendously keen on quoting various reports, organisations and inquiries, but less keen on quoting their sources.
Send your letters to:
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Page last updated: 6th December 2002