Campaign Against Depleted Uranium


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CADU NEWS 12
Autumn 2002

Contents
- DU Horrors to be Repeated In Iraq?
- And It's not Just the Tank Ammunition …
- What You Can Do
- New Book Available on Iraq - ' Targeting Iraq -sanctions and bombing in US Policy.'
- The Fire This Time - New Album Tells the Truth Behind the Gulf War
- Iraq Study Finds Rising Incidence of Babies Borne with Down's Syndrome
- UNEP to Study Environmental and Health Effects of DU in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- European Consortium Trying to Silence Louisiana Residents over DU
- Areva Wins DU Processing Contract
- US Senator Admits DU used in Afghanistan?
- US Bombs Vieques Again
- Depleted uranium detected at Kandahar airfield
- Plans afoot to store radioactive waste in Yucca Mountain
- Children At DU Risk
- Paris prosecutor's office opened a judicial inquiry into DU
- Senate Agrees Extra Money for Paducah
- Study Finds Half of Veterans with Gulf War Illness Tested positive for Depleted Uranium…
- …While Another Study find Evidence of Enriched Uranium!
- Scientist Working on DU in Veteran's Samples Forced to Leave Job
- Lymphoma Incidence in Italian Military Personnel Involved in Operations in Bosnia and in Kosovo
- New Paper On the Internal Effects of Low Level Radiation
- Children of Soldiers who served in DU Wars More likely to Suffer Genetic Diseases.
- British Government May Finally Admit that Gulf War Illness Exists
- Canada to (Hopefully) Study Veteran's Illnesses
- Low Levels of Radiation Found to be a Cancer Risk
- Join CADU's Phone Co-op Affinity Scheme

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DU Horrors to be Repeated In Iraq?

The British Government makes clear its determination to use DU.
As both the US and British Governments fix their sights on a new war with Iraq there is increasing concern that the unresolved tragedies of the 1991 Gulf War will be repeated on an even larger scale than before. With thousands of Gulf War Veterans still suffering from illnesses that the British and American governments refuse to recognise as being caused by their service in the Gulf and ever rising levels of cancers, leukemias, and birth deformities in Iraq if ever there was a time to learn from past mistakes it is now.

Britain to Use DU Weapons
CADU has been very alarmed to learn that Whitehall sources have made it clear that British defence plans will be to provide "a large British force supported by heavy armour" including the use of Challenger II battle tanks. The Challenger II is the only current British frontline tank and it uses almost exclusively the L27 depleted uranium kinetic energy round. Although there also exists the L23 tungsten KE round their explosive charges are now passing their use by date and it is considered obsolete. The Challenger II tank has been the subject of much embarrassment to the MOD recently when in an exercise in Oman last year more than half the Challenger tanks broke down, mainly because their engine air-filters proved inadequate in desert conditions

The ministry of defence has made no secret of the fact that they are planning to continue using depleted uranium. This month, in response to a letter from CADU addressed to Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon, the Ministry of Defence wrote "DU will remain part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future because we have a duty to provide our troops with the best available equipment with which to protect themselves and succeed in conflict". Deeply ironic we felt to talk of protecting our troops with DU weapons. Campaigners may also be interested to note that this August Alvis acquired the manufacturing of Challenger II tanks after buying Vickers' defence business from Rolls Royce.

Denial of DU Effects on Health
In the same letter the MOD claimed, "there is no scientific or medical evidence to link DU with ill-health". This is clearly an untruth since the Royal Society report out earlier this year, (see CADU News 10) that the MOD also refers to in its reply, found that DU could cause fatal kidney failure, respiratory damage and damage to DNA and reproductive health. The Royal Society report also recommends that much further research needs to be done.

Only this month a report by the Uranium Medical Research Centre in Washington DC found that 11 years on over half the Gulf Veterans in the study tested positive for DU. Another study, also out this month by German biochemist, Professor Albrecht Schott, found that British veterans who fought in the Gulf and Balkan wars (where DU was also used) had up to 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities as would be found in civilian populations.

Yet Britain is one of the few countries in NATO that still refuses to recognise Gulf war Syndrome and compensate its soldiers. To expose more soldiers to DU contamination without first establishing the cause of an illness that has affected thousands of British Gulf Veterans nor provide for their subsequent care is a gross dereliction of duty by the MOD.

Refusal To Take Responsbility for Past Actions
Moreover there has been a serious attempt by the allied forces that attacked Iraq to follow up the consequences of their use of DU weapons in 1991 on the Iraqi population. In winter 2001 lobbying by Washington successfully caused the General Assembly of the United Nations to reject a UN study on the effects of depleted uranium in Iraq. However reports released this year from both UNEP and the Royal Society recommended that areas contaminated by depleted uranium should be cordoned off and local food and water supplies monitored for decades to come.

When a site in Cardiff, Wales, was found to be contaminated with depleted uranium this July, soil was classified as low level radioactive waste and transported to a radioactive waste disposal facility near Sellafield. None of these protections have been afforded to Iraqi civilians. The MoD argues in its reply to CADU that it is under "no legal obligation to return to the region post-conflict to clear up any DU that remains." However this was only a precedent that was set by the USA after precarious legal argument, and certainly not a moral one, that can justify exposing a civilian population for possibly generations to come with toxic and radiological pollutants.

If Britain is to go down this route then there must be an honest and widespread public debate about this issue. We believe that the British Government is using selective science and the protection of political and military interests to suppress this debate.

CADU is profoundly opposed to any US and British attack on Iraq believing that they have shown no factual basis to the assertion that Saddam Hussain is a threat either to the West or to his neighbours at this time and that an invasion of Iraq will add nothing to the proclaimed objectives of "the war on terror". The War will only add to the suffering of the Iraqi people, who have already borne the brunt of the harshest ever UN sanctions for the past 11 years, destabilise the region and will clearly be illegal under international law. We think the British Government's clear determination to use DU weapons again in Iraqi despite the unresolved death and illness of those contaminated first time around is completely immoral and irresponsible.

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And It's not Just the Tank Ammunition …

Dai Williams, who produced a report on depleted uranium in Afghanistan (available at http://www.eoslifework.co.uk/du2012.htm) earlier this year has produced a second report "Hazards of Uranium weapons in the proposed war on Iraq". In this he questions the highly secret "dense metal" that is used in the new generation of hard target guided bombs and cruise missiles that would form a major part of the weaponry that would be used in any assault in Iraq.

America has made much of its new "bunker busting" bombs but has refused to reveal what the composition of this dense metal which suggests it is likely to be a uranium alloy. The only other suitably dense candidate would be tungsten which would have neither the incendiary capability of DU nor the surrounding controversy.

It has also been discovered that Lockheed Martin Corporation has submitted US Patent applications on a "Shrouded Aerial Bomb" that clearly refers to the penetrating body being "formed of depleted uranium". If this these new hard penetrator missiles are found to contain depleted uranium the levels of uranium contamination would be massively higher than those released by the depleted uranium weapons used in the 1991 Gulf War; from 300+ tons in 1991 to over 1300+ tons today. As William's argues "the potential scale of human suffering and long term fatalities is awesome".

These findings were also backed up by an article in the Guardian newspaper that reported that when available dimensions and weights of these new penetrator missiles were calculated they could only consist of depleted uranium or tungsten and "DU is the military's usual choice."

If Uranium is used in large, explosive "hard target" warheads (up to 1500 kg) it will create levels of radioactive contamination 100 times higher and more widespread than the depleted uranium anti-tank "penetrators" used in the Gulf War. After bomb attacks in the Balkans in 1999 increased levels of airborne Uranium dust were detected in Greece and Hungary. Any warheads containing Uranium will cause permanent Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation hazards in target areas. They are radiological bombs - weapons of indiscriminate effect in terms of the 1st Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions.

To view or download Dai William's report , including the information on the patented DU bombs visit: http://www.eoslifework.co.uk/u23.htm

The Guardian article is available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,3605,785897,00.html

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What You Can Do

CADU is calling on all its supporters and campaigners against DU to write to
Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon demanding:
* That the British Government must make an absolute commitment that
depleted uranium weapons will not be used in any attack on Iraq.
* That Britain has a moral duty to protect present and future generations
of Iraqi civilians from exposure to DU and this includes monitoring
and decontamination of all areas previously contaminated.
* That for the protection of British soldiers the composition of the
mystery dense metal in the new generation of hard target bombs and
missiles must be publicly revealed, even if they belong to the US army.

Addresses: Mr Tony Blair
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

Mr Geoffrey Hoon
8 Station Street
Kirkby-in-Ashfield
Nottinghamshire
NG17 7AR

We urge all our readers to write to their respective MPs or area representatives asking that they oppose any attack on Iraq and ask their government to agree to a ban on any weaponry containing DU.

Although this information is obviously strongly geared towards the UK we urge all our readers abroad, particularly in The USA to follow the same process with their respective governments.

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Take Action

The STOP THE WAR Coalition is organising a
Don't Attack Iraq Day of Protest on October 31st. They can be contacted on:
PO Box 3739
London E5 8EJ
email: office@stopwar.org.uk
07951235915 or 02070532155/6

ARROW ­ Pledge of Resistance
CADU has become one of the organisations officially backing the Arrow
Pledge of Resistance to any military action in Iraq and we would urge any of
our supporters to do the same. They can be contacted on:
ARROW
C/o NVRN
162 Holloway Road
London
N7 8DQ
email: info@justicenotvengeance.org

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New Book Available on Iraq - ' Targeting Iraq -sanctions and bombing in US Policy.'
by Geoff Simons
Published by Saqi Books

This recently published book has received excellent reviews:- 'a huge contribution to exposing the great US crime against Iraq.' John Pilger. 'passionate, fact-packed, minutely researched, though-provoking.' Felicity Arbuthnot.

The book begins with a chronology of genocide and the chapter headings indicate what a wide-ranging book this is:-Ch1. September 11 and how this was used to accelerate the preparation for war on Iraq. Ch.2 1.6million dead and counting. Effects of sanctions, Ch.3 Blocking essential supplies, Ch.4 Crucial UN resolutions, Ch.5 Subverting the UN, Ch.6 The Israel Factor, Ch.7 Towards an Arab consensus, Ch.8 The bombing campaign, Ch.9. Tightening the sanctions (a critical analysis of smart sanctions), Ch.10 Compensation or Theft? ( The oil-for-food programme)

CADU has copies of 'Targeting Iraq' for distribution- Please contact the CADU office for more details

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The Fire This Time - New Album Tells the Truth Behind the Gulf War

An extremely innovative and informative 2CD compilation is being released on December 2nd by Hidden Art Recordings that utilizes music, narration and samples to deconstruct the propaganda behind the Gulf War and illustrate the devastating effect that sanctions have had on the civilian population of Iraq.

For further information visit: http://www.firethistime.org/

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Iraq Study Finds Rising Incidence of Babies Borne with Down's Syndrome

An Iraqi doctor Tariq Al- Hilli has published a report entitled "Depleted uranium and Down's syndrome in offspring of mothers younger than 35-years old". In it Al-Hilli claims that among the 30 sampled patients with Down's syndrome, 17 of them, or 56.6 percent, were infants of mothers under the age of 35. The result indicated there was no significant statistical association between advanced maternal age and birth of babies with the congenital disorder.

This is the latest in a long series of reports that have pointed to an increase in birth deformities in Iraq. There has never been any international research to establish the causes and scale of these defects although Iraqi doctors have claimed them to be on an alarming scale. In the report Al-Hilli claims that there is an increasing incidence of congenital malformations among those children who live in areas exposed to environmental contamination by radioactive materials like depleted uranium.

Dr Al-Hilli said the sample was randomly selected from those patients who went to the Saddam Central Teaching Hospital during January 1 to July 31, 2000. The study also included another 40 age-and-sex-matched children who had no Down's syndrome as control cases, he said. Down's syndrome, also called trisomy 21, is caused by the presence of an third chromosome.

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UNEP to Study Environmental and Health Effects of DU in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

At the request of the government of, a team of experts from the United Nations Environment Programme is investigating 12 sites in the country that may have been targeted by depleted uranium ordnance (DU) during the Bosnian conflict in 1994 and 1995.

The assessment mission is headed by Pekka Haavisto, the former Finnish environment minister who has led war damage assessment teams in the Balkans, and most recently in the Palestinian Territories.

"UNEP's aim is to determine whether the use of depleted uranium during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina may pose health or environmental risks - either now or in the future," said Haavisto.

"Previous studies of DU in Kosovo and Serbia recommended that governments and civilians take precautionary action to avoid contact with DU," he said.

The team will take soil, water, air and vegetation samples at six sites that have been identified by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as having been struck by DU weapons. They will examine six other sites that local residents believe may have also been targeted.

At the request of the local authorities, the medical sub-team, led by an expert from the World Health Organization (WHO), will examine data on cancer rates in the main urban centres of Sarajevo and Banja Luka. They will also visit a local hospital in Bratunac to meet with the local medical workers and with patients who may have been exposed to DU during the conflict.

The mission is being funded by the governments of Italy and Switzerland.

The samples being collected will be analysed in detail for radioactivity and toxicity in the Spiez Laboratory, in Italy's National Environmental Protection Agency lab, and at Bristol University. The report is due to be published in March 2003.

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European Consortium Trying to Silence Louisiana Residents over DU

Louisiana Energy Services (LES) has asked the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a ruling that would bar the public from raising numerous relevant issues in public hearings related to the licensing of a uranium enrichment plant LES has proposed to build near Hartsville, Tennessee.

The ruling sought by LES, and described as "unique" by one knowledgeable NRC staffer, would prohibit members of the public (including organizations and local and state government bodies) from addressing such issues as environmental justice, the financial qualifications of the LES consortium, the disposition of the thousands of tons of radioactive/hazardous waste the proposed plant would produce, the need for the plant, and others. Not coincidentally, a citizens group in northern Louisiana, Citizens Against Nuclear Trash, successfully stopped LES from building a similar plant there in the 1990s by successfully raising these exact issues before an NRC adjudicatory body.

Rather than clean up its act and play by the rules," said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), "LES is attempting to change the rules so that local people cannot even raise the same type of issues that defeated its last effort to build a dangerous, unnecessary, uneconomic nuclear facility. This smacks of desperation before LES even has submitted a license application. How could the NRC deny the opportunity for people to raise such fundamental issues, when the NRC has not seen even one official word of LES' plans?"

LES is a consortium dominated by the European firm Urenco, which is itself a consortium composed of British Nuclear Fuels, Ltd., the Dutch government, and a number of German firms. Urenco operates three uranium enrichment plants in Western Europe. Other, minority, members of the LES consortium include three major nuclear power utilities-the Exelon Corporation, Duke Power and the Entergy Corporation. Westinghouse Nuclear (a subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels) and Cameco (a Canadian uranium mining and processing company) also are partners of LES.

For more information please contact:
Nuclear Information and Resource Service: tel 202.328.0002; fax: 202.462.2183; nirsnet@nirs.org, http://www.nirs.org/

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Areva Wins DU Processing Contract
A consortium led by the French nuclear energy group, Areva, has won a contract in the United States to process stocks of depleted uranium originating with military activities. Covering the period up to August 2010, the contract will applying to the design, construction and operation of two uranium oxide facilities, in Kentucky and Ohio.

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US Senator Admits DU used in Afghanistan?

In response to persistent questions from a campaigner from 'the Nuclear Resister' about the use of DU in guided weapons or bombs in Afghanistan, US Senator Jon Kyl issued this response:

"To answer your specific question, none of the guided bombs that the U.S. has dropped in Afghanistan used depleted uranium (DU). However, I should note that the U.S. military has used DU-tipped shells against armoured tanks and bunkers because DU's extremely high density (about twice that of lead) makes it very potent as an anti-armour weapon."

The important question here is 'is Senator Kyl admitting that DU has been used in Afghanistan in weapon forms that were previously known i.e. tanks and planes?' This is highly significant as so far there has been no official confirmation that any DU has been used in Afghanistan. However his reply is highly unclear and could be referring to previous uses of DU by the US army. Until we receive official confirmation of his meaning from Senator Kyl we have to wait and wonder…

To know more please contact:
the Nuclear Resister, P.O. Box 43383, Tucson AZ 85733.
Phone/fax (520)323-8697 email: nukeresister@igc.org

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US Bombs Vieques Again

On September 3rd, U.S. Navy fighter jets very sadly began bombing Vieques, Puerto Rico again. Threats of long prison sentences and intimidation has damped protests and international solidarity is urgently needed.

The latest exercises in the U.S. territory involve 10 ships, two attack submarines and 80 planes in the USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group.

In the more than the six decades that the military has used the bombing range hundreds of people have tried to thwart the exercises by invading the range.

Besides the five detained Tuesday, one other activist remained in jail. Robert Rabin, who was sentenced to six months for trespassing in April, was moved to a solitary cell recently after writing a newspaper article, his wife, Nilda Medina, said. "I can't see him, I can't even speak to him. I write him letters everyday, but he can't respond because they won't give him a pen," she said, holding back tears. "He gets out in 33 days."

Campaigners are asking for actions to take place and letters to be written in support. For more information contact:

Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
PO BOX 1424, Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel. 787 -741-0716 E-mail oficina@prorescatevieques.org

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Depleted uranium detected at Kandahar airfield

An American team has identified several small pieces of "an unknown metal substance suspected to be DU" at Kandahar airport, Afghanistan. The substance was found in the remains of a burnt out aircraft (!) in the airport which Canadian troops were using as living quarters. Who the plane belonged to or if it was civilian or military is not clear from reports.

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Plans Afoot to store radioactive waste in Yucca Mountain

DU has been suggested as a suitable material for storage of radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, where the American Government is developing a plan to store its high level nuclear waste. The Yucca Mountain plan is extremely controversial as it will damage an area of natural beauty and only offer a medium-term storage solution. Some consider using the existing DU stockpiles in this way to be one of the more responsible and benign ways to use this waste material and keep it out of public contact. But it must also be considered that this employment of DU may justify its continuing production. If you want to know more about the plans visit:
http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/mgmtuses/duuses/repository/index.cfm

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Children At DU Risk

Soil contaminated with debris from depleted uranium shells could be putting children in the Balkans and the Gulf at an increased risk of developing cancer and kidney damage claimed an article this July in the New Scientist magazine. Particularly at risk are children who play in areas that were bombarded by DU munitions.

Researchers from the University of Florence and the Tuscan Environment Protection Agency (ARPAT) calculated that children could inhale a radiation dose from contaminated soil that would exceed safety levels set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Swallowing contaminated soil would increase the risk further." In sites targeted by DU munitions, special measures have to be adopted to reduce exposures," said Daniele Dominici, a physicist at the University of Florence. These would include removing topsoil and monitoring water and food supplies.

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Paris prosecutor's office opened a judicial inquiry into DU

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a judicial inquiry into possible 'accidental homicides and injuries' in relation to DU to the use of DU weapons during the Gulf War. The victory is important as it reflects the seriousness with which it takes the issues of DU. Over 250 veterans are thought to have who fell ill after serving in the multinational force that fought against Iraq in 1991. Mrs. Bertella-Geffroy, the investigative judge has previously conducted investigations regarding questions as significant as that of HIV-contaminated blood, the mad-cow scandal and that of growth hormones.

Senate Agrees Extra Money for Paducah

The Senate has agreed an extra $31 million to clean up the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky, USA, bringing the total to $134 million and £10 million for the conversion of depleted uranium. As reported in the last CADU News there are nearly 60 000 containers of DU that have been stored on the site since the early 1950s.

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Study Finds Half of Veterans with Gulf War Illness Tested positive for Depleted Uranium…

A study led by Col. Asaf Durakovic of the Uranium Medical Research Center in Washington, DC, analysed the urine of 27 British, Canadian and US Gulf War veterans and found over half tested positive for depleted uranium. According to a report in the August issue of the peer- reviewed and highly regarded journal Military Medicine, all of the participants had Gulf War illness and all had inhaled depleted uranium during their service in the Persian Gulf 8 to 9 years before. Fourteen of the urine samples tested positive for depleted uranium. The researchers also detected depleted uranium in the lung and bone of one Gulf War veteran who had died.

Leonard Dietz, a co-author of the study, said "This is the first measurement of Gulf War veterans for depleted uranium using the best current scientific analytical methodology". The findings of the study strengthen arguments that depleted uranium stays in the body for indefinite periods of time and has serious consequences for health. Although only a small sample was studied it indicates that DU may be a contributing factor to Gulf War Illness, something the MOD has consistently denied.

SOURCE: Military Medicine 2002;167:620-627

An abstract for this work can be found if you search at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

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…While Another Study find Evidence of Enriched Uranium!

A similar study this time conducted by The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Isotope Geosciences Laboratory in Nottingham.

It has found that not only do Gulf Veterans have evidence of depleted uranium in their urine samples but also enriched uranium, which can only come from material that has been through a nuclear reactor or been produced for atomic weapons. The tests, which were commissioned by the National Gulf War Veterans and Families Association, found six veterans had evidence of DU in their systems while two had evidence of enriched uranium.
Lab head Professor Randall Parrish said the two men showed "clear evidence of exposure to enriched uranium". He wrote: "My understanding is that enriched uranium is not used in conventional warheads and tipped projectiles. Instead, enriched uranium is used as fuel in nuclear reactors and in the manufacture of atomic explosives."

The source of the enriched uranium is unclear but it does confirm earlier reports that the DU weapons have been manufactured from waste material that has been reprocessed through a nuclear reactor. "Clean" DU is left after uranium ore has gone through the gaseous diffusion process that removes most of the fissionable isotope U-235 but if the DU has been though a reactor this leaves the material subject to contamination of all sorts of highly radioactive materials, such as plutonium, which is one of the carcinogenic substance known to man. The release of such contaminants into the environment can have devastating effects.

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Scientist Working on DU in Veteran's Samples Forced to Leave Job

Pat Horan, a scientist who has been working on the analysis of DU in human samples since 1999 at Memorial University, Canada and who won the President's award for Excellence in Science at Memorial has been forced to leave her job in very unusual circumstances. There has been a string of suspicious problems plaguing her research including her office being broken into, urine samples taken without medical forms and six veterans being told they were negative for DU when only one was tested.

After Pat returned to work after sick leave she found the locks on her office were changed. She was later denied access to her personal belongings and all the computer records of her research. The research program on DU in human samples at Memorial is now facing a very uncertain future and there are worries that this very important work may not be completed at all.

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Lymphoma Incidence in Italian Military Personnel Involved in Operations in Bosnia and in Kosovo

Dr Chris Busby has written an article regarding the incidence of lymphoma in Italian peacekeepers returning from Bosnia and Kosovo. He refutes earlier analysis of the data that was presented to the Royal Society that claims there was no significant increase in lymphoma. He argues that invalid reference groups were used and that with a correct analysis "a significant excess risk of lymphoma" can be seen.

His report can be found and viewed as a pdf. file on:
http://www.llrc.org/du/duframes.htm

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New Paper On the Internal Effects of Low Level Radiation

Phillip Day, Reader in Chemistry at the University of Manchester, has written a new paper on the biological effects of internal emitters of radiation and why conventional dosimetry fails to understand the risk they pose. This is of particular interest for those interested in the issue of DU as most of the risk scenarios familiar to campaigners, such as to returning civilian populations to post-conflict areas and soldiers in battlefield situations, feature this type of DU exposure. Munitions composed of DU will tend to oxidize on impact, leaving a fine dust that can spread over a large area and stay in the environment for an indefinite period of time and thus be inhaled or swallowed.

Phillip Day in his article explains that in conventional dosimetry, radiation doses are averaged over relatively large volumes of similar tissues but that internally absorbed alpha and, to a lesser extent, beta particles are absorbed over short distances. They therefore generate a very high density of ionisation and hence chemical damage along their tracks. This will irradiate relatively small numbers of adjacent cells to a high intensity, causing major biochemical changes in localized clusters. In sensitive tissue areas these irradiated clusters can be linked to such biological outcomes as the initiation of some forms of cancer.
This article is suitable for the layperson to read and is now available on the CADU website.

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Children of Soldiers who served in DU Wars More likely to Suffer Genetic Diseases.

Children of British soldiers who fought in wars in which depleted uranium ammunition was used are at greater risk of suffering genetic diseases passed on by their fathers, new research reveals. Veterans of the conflicts in the Gulf, Bosnia and Kosovo have been found to have up to 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities in their genes. That has raised fears they will pass cancers and genetic illnesses to their offspring. The study is the first to analyse chromosome deformation in soldiers.

'High levels of genetic damage do not occur naturally. It increases the probability of cancer, deformed babies and other genetic conditions significantly,' said Professor Albrecht Schott, a german biochemist who co-ordinated the research.

Schott collected blood samples from 16 British veterans last year. Fourteen had fought in the Gulf war, one of whom also served in Bosnia. Of the others, one served only in Kosovo and one only in Bosnia. Two of the veterans are women. The former soldiers have between double and 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities. The average was five-and-a-half times higher than found in civilians. None had less than double the normal rate. Despite the significance of these results spokesman for the MoD dismissed Schott's findings. 'We consider the tests neither well thought out nor scientifically sound,' he said.

http://www.observer.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,772633,00.html

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British Government May Finally Admit that Gulf War Illness Exists

Senior defence sources have said the Prime Minister is on the verge of a dramatic U-turn over Gulf War Syndrome, in a move that could clear the way for thousands of sick veterans to receive huge compensation payouts.

Britain, unlike America, has always refused to recognise that the illnesses suffered by Gulf War veterans had any link with their service in the Gulf but emerging scientific evidence and constant campaigning by veteran's groups may convince him to change his mind.

A source said "There is a gathering realisation that the government cannot hold out against recognising Gulf War illnesses forever, particularly when allies
like the United States are taking what is increasingly looking like the opposite position."

More than 5,000 British troops - nearly one in five of the veterans - claim they have developed illnesses including neurological disorders and bone disease since the war. The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association now say that over 500 British veterans have died of the syndrome.

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Canada to (Hopefully) Study Veteran's Illnesses

Warrant Officer Michael Peace died in 2000 of a brain tumor. He attributed this condition to his service in Bosnia in 1994-95, and in a letter to superiors asked if special "add-on" tank armour, (which may possibility have been DU) could have caused his illness. In the ensuing investigation 34 soldiers came forward to say they were suffering from a variety of illnesses, including persistent headaches, vision trouble, memory problems and mysterious bleeding. Many of the symptoms resemble health complaints made by Gulf War veterans.

The Canadian Army decided Peace's death was not due to his Bosnian service but has said they will look into the complaints. Many soldier's though are reportedly furious at what they see as political whitewashing of the issue.

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Low Levels of Radiation Found to be a Cancer Risk

Scientists from the Molecular Genetics laboratory at the McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge have argued that their works shows that people who are exposed to even low levels of radiation at work may be at risk of cancer.

The McDonald Institute scientists believe that current safety limits maybe too high and that more research needs to be done to protect health workers, scientists and others who come into contact with radioactive materials. Prolonged exposure to relatively low doses of radiation can cause mutations in human DNA. They have suggested that it may also affect genes that have been linked with leukemia and other cancers.

The research was done with fisherman who live in Kerala, India which has one of the highest background radiation levels in the world. The people in the study had higher levels of "point mutations" in their mitochondrial DNA and were exposed to radiation which is 10 times greater than the worldwide average. However, those who are exposed to radiation at work are allowed to receive up to 50 times the normal level.

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Join CADU's Phone Co-op Affinity Scheme

The Phone Co-op is the UK's only telecoms co-operative and is committed to environmentally sustainable investment. By joining CADU's affinity scheme you will be supporting CADU, since 6% of the cost of all the calls you make will go directly to CADU. You will also save money on phone calls. Local calls are 2.6p compared to 3.5p at BT's rate peaktime and 1.26p off peak compared to BT's rate of 2.3p. International calls are also cheaper. For more details please contact the CADU office.

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Page last updated: 6th December 2002