Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

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Campaign News Spring 2006

The unforeseen delay in producing this issue is due to CADU taking over the internal coordination of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons. We have been busy developing a raft of new material for their website and planning this year's lobbying programme.

We still believe that a new treaty on DU is the best way of moving forward with the issue. Indeed, a reminder that lobbying does work came last month when it was revealed that ICBUW lobbying undertaken by Belgian members led directly to the third European Parliament vote on a DU moratorium that we reported on last issue.

Work is now underway for a further session of lobbying at the UN in the Autumn. CADU are also planning a lobby of UK MPs to follow up on the EP resolution.

Before the Autumn lobbying programme begins and with the help of several generous donations, we will be attending the 3rd annual ICBUW conference in Hiroshima in August. More information on the conference can be found at

Trouble at the Top

We would obviously like to take a moment to welcome the new Defence Minister Des Browne MP to his post. A loyal Blairite, since 1997 he has backed every New Labour bill that has crossed his desk. With this in mind we are not holding out much hope of a radical change in direction in the UK government's policy on DU weapons.

And it is goodbye to Jack Straw, who discovered that it is dangerous to air your personal views in politics, apparently Straw had to leave the Foreign Office for his 'outrageous' views on Iran. It seems that neither Tony nor the US was overly pleased with his contention that bombing Iran would not be helpful to world peace and Middle East stability.

Epidemiological Survey

We have had the first report from the ICBUW and IPPNW sponsored epidemiological survey in Basra. Following the first 'summer school' in Jordan last year, where Iraqi health professionals met with European epidemiologists and other specialists, a second meeting was arranged in Germany.

They have found that the main priority in Basra is to establish a reliable cancer registry, which can then act as a solid database for a subsequent epidemiological and environmental health analysis. They have made great steps towards setting it up during the last year. Following the Amman Summer School, doctors and researchers from Basra established a project team to improve patient care, case detection and registration. They will also map cases and identify possible risk factors and possible environmental pollutants, especially focusing on DU.

They are now summarising and tidying the raw data on cancer and haematological malignancies (mainly leukemia) from their main three sources in the city.

So far it seems that breast cancer, lymphomas and some other cancers have clearly been increasing. There are also some kinds of cancers, such as liver cancer, which have decreased or have remained stable during the past ten years.

A formal paper on their work so far will be submitted to a journal later this year and a presentation made at the ICBUW conference in August.

New Research

Several papers have recently been published on uranium's chemical toxicity. Much of the anti-DU community's focus has been on DU's radioactive hazards but the links between chemical toxicity and ill health arer growing stronger all the time. There is also evidence that the two can have a synergistic effect, radically increasing the amount of damage caused to dividing cells and DNA.

Environmental Health Perspectives published a link between DU and immune system damage that showed high levels of uranium-induced damage to mouse white blood cells; worryingly mice have a more robust immune system than humans. Meanwhile Molecular Carcinogenesis reported that uranium compounds can cause direct DNA damage in Chinese hamster cells by methods other than the widely known effects of free radicals and radiological attack.

A Word From Our Coordinator

We would like to thank everyone very much who has donated to the work of CADU. We do need the help more than ever. During the last year, as you can see from the newsletter, we have made enormous progress. One very significant point we learnt recently was that the European Parliamentarians in passing their Resolution for a moratorium leading to a ban on DU munitions had been persuaded by ICBUW conferences and lobbying. So we need to continue that work. Also now from the office at CADU we are carrying out the administrative work for ICBUW. So if you can give us an extra donation, it will certainly be put to good use for more briefing materials, for more resources, for more activity. And if you have any queries, do get in touch.

Rae Street

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Page last updated: 6th December 2002