Health Concerns of Depleted Uranium (DU)
A number of health concerns surrounding depleted uranium(DU) tend to center around the effect that nano-sized ceramic particles of U238, a uranium oxide, have on the human body. These particles are released into the atmosphere when munitions that involve DU are used in battle.
An expert in the field, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, found that uranium oxide together with its aerosol form remain insoluble in water. This aerosol can travel tens of kilometers in the atmosphere, and once on the ground, it may be re-suspended whenever it is disturbed, even by wind.
If breathed in, the tiny uranium oxide particles can reside within the lungs for years. They slowly pass from the lung tissue and into the blood.
The founder of the Uranium Medical Research Center, Dr. AsafDurakovic, stated that during the course of a year, a single milligram of DU is capable of emitting 390 million alpha particles, together with 780 million beta particles, in addition to associated gamma rays which total over one billion high energy, radioactive, ionizing rays and particles that could produce broad-ranging damage to an individual’s kidneys, ovaries, lymph nodes, lungs, blood, breasts, stomach, bones, and to fetuses.
He also said that health concerns for those of a younger age, are particularly acute.
Though the Department of Defense continue to refute health risks that are associated with the use of DUs, their own actions tend to belie their claims.
A 2003 report filed by Scott Peterson who wrote for the Christian Science Monitor claimed that six American vehicles that were struck in Iraq during 1991 by DU from “friendly fire” were deemed by the Department of Defense as being too contaminated to return home. And thus, they were buried in Saudi Arabia. Some 16 or more vehicles were returned to the U.S. and were retained in a South Carolina purpose-built facility. Six of those had to be entombed in a radioactive waste dump.
A study carried out in April, 2007, by a group of researchers at the University of Southern Maine deduced that an exposure to particulate DU can pose a relatively severe genotoxic risk (potential for genetic mutation) and may also result in lung cancer.
A further paper that was also published in 2007 in ‘Science of the Total Environment,’ conceived that there were high concentrations of DU particles in stream sediment, soil, and in household dust near a DU weapons factory that’s located in Colone, New York. The experiments were conducted 23 years after the closure of the plant, and the results were irrespective the fact that a huge cleanup effort had been carried out by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
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