THE SUNDAY TIMES (London)
Tests show Gulf
Carr-Brown and Martin Meissonnier
that Gulf war syndrome exists and was caused by radiation
poisoning will be revealed today by a former American
army colonel who was at
the centre of his government's attempts to diagnose
Dr Asaf Durakovic will tell a conference of eminent
nuclear scientists in Paris that
"tens of thousands" of British and American soldiers
are dying from radiation from
depleted uranium (DU) shells fired during the Gulf
The findings will undermine the British and
American governments' claims that Gulf
war syndrome does not exist and intensify pressure
from veterans on both sides of the
Atlantic for compensation.
Durakovic, who is professor of nuclear medicine
at Georgetown University,
Washington, and the former head of nuclear medicine
at the US Army's veterans'
affairs medical facility in Delaware, will tell
the conference that he and his team of
American and Canadian scientists have discovered
life-threateningly high levels of DU
in Gulf veterans 10 years after the desert war.
His findings, which have been verified by
four independent experts, is embarrassing
for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and American Defence
Department, which have
consistently refused to test Gulf war veterans for
Durakovic will tell the European Association
of Nuclear Medicine that tests on
17 veterans have shown DU in the urine and bones
of 70% of them.
Depleted uranium does not occur naturally. It is
the by-product of the industrial
processing of waste from nuclear reactors and is
better known as weapons-grade
uranium. It is used to strengthen the tips of shells
to ensure that they pierce armour.
Durakovic, who left America because he was
told his life was in danger if he
continued his research, has concluded that troops
inhaled the tiny uranium particles
after American and British forces fired more than
700,000 DU shells during the conflict.
The finding begins to explain for the first
time why medical orderlies and mechanics
are the principal victims of Gulf war syndrome.
British Army engineers who removed tanks hit
by DU shells from the battlefield
and medical personnel who cut off the clothes of
Iraqi casualties in field hospitals
have been disproportionately affected.
Once inside the body, DU causes a slow death
from cancers, irreversible kidney
damage or wastage from immune deficiency disorders.
In the UK, where more than 400 veterans are
estimated to have died from
"Gulf war syndrome", at least 50 of those victims
came from Reme (Royal
Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) units.
Others, such as Ray Bristow, 42, of Hull, who was
a theatre technician for
32 Field Hospital, are now wheelchair-bound.
Tests carried out by Durakovic on Bristow
showed that, nine years after leaving
the Gulf, he had more than 100 times the safe limit
of DU in his body.
Durakovic said: "I doubt whether the MoD or
Pentagon will have the audacity to
challenge these results. I can't say this is the
solitary cause of Gulf war syndrome, but
we now have clear evidence that it is a leading
factor in the majority of victims.
"I hope the US and UK governments finally
realise that, by continuing to use this
ammunition, they are effectively poisoning their
An MoD spokesman said it would study any new
evidence: "Our aim is to get the
best care for British veterans and our views are
based on the best evidence around."
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in baby by depleted uranium