The quantitative analysis of depleted uranium isotopes in British,
 Canadian, and U.S. Gulf War veterans.

 Horan P, Dietz L, Durakovic A.

 Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.
 Johns, Canada.

 The purpose of this work was to determine the concentration and ratio 
of uranium isotopes in allied forces Gulf War veterans. The 27 patients 
had their 24-hour urine samples analyzed for 234U, 235U, 236U, and 
238U by mass spectrometry. 

The urine samples were evaporated and separated into isotopic dilution 
and concentration fraction by the chromatographic technique. The 
isotopic composition was measured by a thermal ionization mass 
spectrometer using a secondary electron multiplier detector and 
ion-counting system. The uranium blank control and SRM960 U isotopic 
standard were analyzed by the same procedure. Statistical analysis was 
done by an unpaired t test. The results confirm the presence of depleted 
uranium (DU) in 14 of 27 samples, with the 238U:235U ratio  207.15. This 
is significantly different from natural uranium (p < 0.008) as well as from 
the DU shrapnel analysis, with 22.22% average value of DU fraction, and 
warrants further investigation.
PMID: 12188230 [PubMed ~ in process]
(1: Mil Med  2002 Aug;167(8):620-7)            origin message*

Estimate of the Time Zero Lung Burden of Depleted Uranium in Persian Gulf War Veterans

Estimate of the Time Zero Lung Burden of Depleted Uranium in Persian Gulf
War Veterans by the 24-Hour Urinary Excretion and Exponential Decay Analysis
Authors:  Col. Asaf Durakovic, MC USAR; Patricia Horan, MSc; Leonard A.
Dietz, MSc; Isaac Zimmerman, BSc

Publication: Military Medicine, Vol. 168, August 2003, pages 600-605.

Abstract:    The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of DU in the
respiratory system of Allied Forces Gulf War Veterans.  Mass spectrometry
(TIMS) analysis of 24-hour urinary excretion of DU isotopes in five positive
(238U/235U > 191.00) and six negative (238U/235U > 138.25) veterans was
utilized in the mathematical estimation of the pulmonary burden at the time
of exposure.  A minimum value for the biological half-life of ceramic DU
oxide in the lungs was derived from the Battelle report of the minimum
dissolution half time in simulated interstitial lung fluid corresponding to
3.85 years.  The average depleted uranium concentration was 3.27 x 10-5 mg /
24-hours in DU positive veterans and 1.46 x 10-8 mg in DU negative veterans.
The estimated lung burden was 0.34 mg in the DU positive and 0.00015 mg in
the DU negative veterans.  Our results provide evidence that the pulmonary
concentration of DU at time-zero can be quantitated as late as nine years
after inhalational exposure.                                     origin message*

An NOW for something completely different:

William S. Andrews, Edward A. Ough, Brent J. Lewis and Leslie G.I. Bennett
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Royal Military College of
Canada, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7K 7B4.

Abstract. Over the past quarter century, depleted uranium (DU) has replaced
tungsten alloys as the material of choice for penetrators in armour piercing
rounds in some armies, as well as a being used as a supplement to steel in
tank armour. The tendency for adiabatic shear failure to overcome work
hardening, and increased ductility are attributed for the improved ballistic
performance. The aerosolisation of a portion of the penetrator on impact
creates a potential health hazard, particularly through ingesting
resuspended aerosol particles. Bioassays of military and civilian personnel,
who were potentially exposed to DU contamination, have failed to establish a
link between DU and symptoms of “Gulf War illness”. In fact, increased DU
body burdens have usually not been detected. Further, Canadian testing has
not been able to identify elevated levels of DU or even natural uranium in
urine, hair or bone samples of veterans.                  origin message*

A sufficient reason never to trust the military: 
they don't have the knowledge and the instruments.  

Sunday Herald - 22 February 2004
WHO ‘suppressed’ scientific study into
depleted uranium cancer fears in Iraq

An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium (DU) weapons has been kept secret.

The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year’s war, and to clean up afterwards.

Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.

“Our study suggests that the widespread use of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq could pose a unique health hazard to the civilian population,” Baverstock told the Sunday Herald.

“There is increasing scientific evidence the radio activity and the chemical toxicity of DU could cause more damage to human cells than is assumed.”

Baverstock was the WHO’s top expert on radiation and health for 11 years until he retired in May last year. He now works with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Kuopio in Finland, and was recently appointed to the UK government’s newly formed Committee on Radio active Waste Management.

While he was a member of staff, WHO refused to give him permission to publish the study, which was co-authored by Professor Carmel Mothersill from McMaster University in Canada and Dr Mike Thorne, a radiation consultant . Baverstock suspects that WHO was leaned on by a more powerful pro-nuclear UN body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“I believe our study was censored and suppressed by the WHO because they didn’t like its conclusions. Previous experience suggests that WHO officials were bowing to pressure from the IAEA, whose remit is to promote nuclear power,” he said. “That is more than unfortunate, as publishing the study would have helped forewarn the authorities of the risks of using DU weapons in Iraq.”

These allegations, however, are dismissed as “totally unfounded” by WHO. “The IAEA role was very minor,” said Dr Mike Repacholi, the WHO coordinator of radiation and environmental health in Geneva. “The article was not approved for publication because parts of it did not reflect accurately what a WHO-convened group of inter national experts considered the best science in the area of depleted uranium,” he added.

Baverstock’s study, which has now been passed to the Sunday Herald, pointed out that Iraq’s arid climate meant that tiny particles of DU were likely to be blown around and inhaled by civilians for years to come. It warned that, when inside the body, their radiation and toxicity could trigger the growth of malignant tumours.

The study suggested that the low-level radiation from DU could harm cells adjacent to those that are directly irradiated, a phenomenon known as “the bystander effect”. This undermines the stability of the body’s genetic system, and is thought by many scientists to be linked to cancers and possibly other illnesses.

In addition, the DU in Iraq, like that used in the Balkan conflict, could turn out to be contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive waste . That would make it more radioactive and hence more dangerous, Baverstock argued.

“The radiation and the chemical toxicity of DU could also act together to create a ‘cocktail effect’ that further increases the risk of cancer. These are all worrying possibilities that urgently require more investigation,” he said.

Baverstock’s anxiety about the health effects of DU in Iraq is shared by Pekka Haavisto, the chairman of the UN Environment Programme’s Post-Conflict Assessment Unit in Geneva. “It is certainly a concern in Iraq, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

UNEP, which surveyed DU contamination in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, is keen to get into Iraq to monitor the situation as soon as possible. It has been told by the British government that about 1.9 tonnes of DU was fired from tanks around Basra, but has no information from US forces, which are bound to have used a lot more.

Haavisto’s greatest worry is when buildings hit by DU shells have been repaired and reoccupied without having been properly cleaned up. Photographic evidence suggests that this is exactly what has happened to the ministry of planning building in Baghdad.

He also highlighted evidence that DU from weapons had been collected and recycled as scrap in Iraq. “It could end up in a fork or a knife,” he warned.

“It is ridiculous to leave the material lying around and not to clear it up where adults are working and children are playing. If DU is not taken care of, instead of decreasing the risk you are increasing it. It is absolutely wrong.”
Copyright © 2004 smg sunday newspapers ltd. no.176088

in Doha (Katar) and by whom the subject DU is suppressed by the
 US/UK authorities: