Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Introduction | News | Information | Resources | Affiliate | Action | Links | Contact


US To Introduce Comprehensive DU Testing Regime For Veterans

After years of effort, including speeches, interviews, news conferences, working with groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility, the US House of Representatives has passed legislation that includes an amendment by Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-D) ordering a comprehensive study on the possible health effects from exposure to depleted uranium on U.S. soldiers and their children.

"As long and winding as the road has been to get where we are today, this is only the beginning - but this is a great day because we have taken the first step to defend the U.S. soldiers who protect and defend us," McDermott said.

Shortly after passage, Rep. McDermott received a letter from James King, the national executive director of AMVETS, the American Veterans organization: "This is a very important issue for AMVETS and its membership. Our ultimate goal is to provide atomic veterans with the tools necessary to file a claim and be considered for due compensation. Your amendment will help begin this process. "Again, thank you for your amendment and your support of veterans and their families."

Rep. McDermott has spent several years working to get the House to study DU: "For me, this is a personal, not political, quest. My professional life turned from medicine to politics after my service in the U.S. Navy during the 1960s, when I treated combat soldiers returning from Vietnam.

"Back then, the Pentagon denied that Agent Orange posed any danger to U.S. soldiers who were exposed. Decades later, the truth finally emerged. Agent Orange harmed our soldiers. It made thousands sick and some died. During all those years of denial, we stood by and did nothing while soldiers suffered. "If DU poses no danger, we need to prove it with statistically valid, and independent scientific studies. If DU harms our soldiers, we all need to know it, and act quickly as any doctor would, to use all of our power to heal the sick. We owe our soldiers a full measure of the truth, wherever that leads us."

The amendment to undertake a comprehensive study of possible health effects to soldiers from exposure to depleted uranium was contained in the Department of Defense Authorisation Bill.

However, as has been shown by the UK Depleted Uranium Oversight Board, the devil will be in the detail. While the move is broadly welcomed as a step in the right direction, it remains the civilians on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere who are most in need of independent, rigorous testing and health surveys.

Read more articles about The Gulf War Veterans

Introduction | News | Information | Resources | Affiliate | Action | Links | Contact

Page last updated: January 28, 2003