Italian DU Commission Publishes Findings
The Italian parliamentary
commission for investigating the effects of depleted uranium has finally
published and voted on its conclusions. The final report was approved
with eight votes in favour, five abstentions and none against.
The Italian Parliament had stopped its activity because of the elections
and tensions on the committee were running high. The majority of its
members were from Berlusconi's Forza party, a fact which made many
doubt its independence. There was also shock that any agreement had
DU was found "not directly responsible" for the deaths and
cancers of Italian Balkan war veterans, (44 dead so far, and more
than 300 with cancer). But it concluded that there may be an indirect
role for DU, through the production of nanoparticles.
According to the commission, only soldiers who were directly exposed
to DU bombings should face a significant risk of illness. However,
the Italian soldiers were deployed much later leading them to conclude
that environmental pollution created by the bombings could have been
another indirect cause.
As with Gulf War veterans, vaccinations were also blamed for the health
problems. Some old medicines, such as Neotif, had been blamed for
this, in spite of the fact that none of the dead soldiers received
these kinds of vaccines.
The Italian MoD failed to give sufficient information on the roles
and deployment of soldiers. This has made it difficult to develop
accurate statistical and epidemiological evidence on their exposure
levels. The MoD and arms companies were also accused of not supplying
complete information when the committee investigated health problems
around firing ranges.
Activists believe the report was passed because it offered increased
compensation to veterans - a key part of the electorate. For the first
time ill soldiers will receive compensation that had previously been
restricted only to the families of the dead.
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