Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  
sassa

Iraqi Doctors Worry About Use of Uranium

Recommended Posts

Iraqi Doctors Worry About Use of Uranium

Sat May 24, 2:29 AM ET

By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Amr Mouftah and a couple of friends were playing on the demolished Iraqi armored personnel carriers, climbing onto turrets and swinging and leaping from gun barrels.

"This is great fun — just like having a big new toy," said 11-year-old Amr.

On the sidewalk, pedestrians squeezed past the charred vehicles. None was aware of the potential danger inside the metal hulks littering Baghdad, destroyed when U.S.-led strikes used depleted uranium shells against tanks and other armored vehicles.

Iraqi doctors and scientists — and the United Nations to a lesser extent — are worried that birth defects and childhood cancers could surge in the aftermath of the latest conflict, not unlike medical problems in southern Iraq after the mildly radioactive munitions were first used in the 1991 Gulf War.

"Many in the medical community are worried that malignancies will rise very quickly in the future because so many people will be exposed to depleted uranium residue throughout the country," said Ranna Abdel Karim, a doctor at Baghdad's Children's Hospital.

Depleted uranium, fashioned from low-level radioactive wastes, is 2 1/2 times denser than steel and 1.7 times denser than lead. This theoretically creates a projectile more able to penetrate the heavy armor of tanks than conventional armor-piercing munitions.

U.S. tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, A-10 attack jets and Apache helicopters routinely use depleted uranium rounds.

Aside from the United States and Britain, no other nation uses the munitions. Russian military experts say shells made from alloys of hardened steel, lead and tungsten are equally effective in the anti-tank role.

The substance is said to be harmless when sealed in artillery shells or bombs. But when a shell strikes its target, some of the metal burns and oxidizes into microscopic particles. This creates dust that some say is toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Experts at the Pentagon and the United Nations estimate that 1,100-2,200 tons of depleted uranium were used by U.S.-led coalition forces during their attack on Iraq in March and April. This contrasts with about 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War, 11 tons fired during the 1999 war against Serbia over Kosovo, and a much smaller quantity used against rebel Serb positions in Bosnia in 1995.

The U.N. Environment Program, while acknowledging its assessments have found no immediate risk, has recommended a scientific investigation of sites targeted by depleted uranium weapons in Iraq.

"The fact remains that depleted uranium is still an issue of great concern for the general public," UNEP director Klaus Toepfer said.

Unlike the 1991 war, when most combat took place in Iraq's southeastern tip, the fighting this time engulfed some of the country's most densely populated areas.

The Pentagon and many experts contend that depleted uranium, because of its low radioactivity, poses no risk to the health of soldiers handling munitions made from it, or to civilians living in areas where those shells were used.

An official of the U.S.-led administration in Iraq, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were plans to eventually clean up all wrecks left over from the war.

"But this is a country awash with munitions," the official said. "And the danger of kids finding land mines or grenades is much more immediate than the risk posed by DU."

In the decade that followed the 1991 war, Iraqi health officials said they had recorded a 200 percent rise in cancer and leukemia cases, particularly in young children, in Basra. That southern city was close to the battlefields of the 1991 war.

"There is no other explanation for this outbreak of all forms of cancer, including the rarest forms of leukemia, than the radioactivity coming from depleted uranium," said Abdel Karim, whose hospital is the primary health care institution in the country treating children with malignancies.

Abdel Karim said Iraqi medical practitioners had noticed that cancer cases from areas around Basra were particularly difficult to treat. She blames that on depleted uranium.

"Most have to be referred for bone transplants," she said. "Unlike other cases, they just don't respond to chemotherapy and other treatment."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by ghhhhhost

thas exactly why i said what i did...after they poisoned serbia..they came in and told them it was good for them..uranium krispies for breakfast

that's sick and fucked up. there was a link i posted a while back of the effects DU had on gulf war veterans and iraqis from 1990's....did you see it...crazy shit happens to those innocent people...they're trying to literally destroy the earth, me thinks, with this poison....

the question is: are they going to be allowed to continue to do it, or is someone going to step in and shove it up their asses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wel, they have been allowed to do it and several times at that...

So i don't think they'll be stopped any time soon. It seems that the world just turned the over cheek like it does to almost everything. I don't remember a case where USA has changed international stratagy just because un or nato thought it was a bad idea and or is illegal by international laws.

Originally posted by sassa

that's sick and fucked up. there was a link i posted a while back of the effects DU had on gulf war veterans and iraqis from 1990's....did you see it...crazy shit happens to those innocent people...they're trying to literally destroy the earth, me thinks, with this poison....

the question is: are they going to be allowed to continue to do it, or is someone going to step in and shove it up their asses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's proven that this whole DU thing is overblown...

Depleted uranium

Soldiers returning from the Gulf will be tested for depleted uranium. Alok Jha explains what the metal is and the dangers associated with it

Friday April 25, 2003

What is it?

Depleted uranium is a toxic heavy metal. It is a by-product of the nuclear fuel and weapons industries.

Where does it come from?

Naturally occurring uranium is a mixture of two different kinds - uranium 235 and uranium 238.

Uranium 235 is by far the most radioactive kind. Unsurprisingly, this is the one that the nuclear fuel and weapons industries try to extract from the naturally occurring metal. When extracted it called "enriched uranium". This is what is used in fuel rods and nuclear weapons.

What is left over after the extraction process is called "depleted uranium". It is still a mixture of the two kinds (or isotopes) of uranium, but it is mainly made up uranium 238.

Who is using it in weapons?

The Americans and British have used vast amounts in both the recent and the last Gulf wars. They also used it in the Balkans.

How does a depleted uranium weapon work?

The use of depleted uranium in weapons has little to do with its hint of radioactivity, and everything to do with its high density. It is one of the more dense elements and that means a shell going at a particular speed carries an awful lot of momentum. It is that momentum which is useful.

Depleted uranium is nearly two-and-a-half times more dense than steel and more than one-and-a-half times more dense than lead. This means that a typical 2ft-long missile tipped with depleted uranium and weighing just under 5kg has enough momentum to break through the heavy armour of a tank. Once it has blasted through the armour, the uranium tip disintegrates. Because of the heat created, the particles of depleted uranium start burning.

What does it do to the soldiers under attack?

This is not pretty - the immediate effects of this weapon on a tank's crew will almost certainly be devastating. Aside from the shards of metal flying around, there is a danger of being burned or suffocating as the oxygen inside the vehicle is used up.

What about future contamination?

Longer-term damage to both people and the environment has been the subject of several studies in the past few years.

For soldiers working with, or attacked by, depleted uranium weapons, a long-term risk is simply the toxicity of the metal - rather than its radioactivity.

But a study conducted by the Royal Society last year concluded that the majority of soldiers and civilians in the last Gulf war were not exposed to levels of depleted uranium likely to cause what is known as heavy-metal poisoning.

What happens if it gets inside you?

Things are different if DU gets into your lungs or bloodstream; then the radioactivity is a factor.

Soldiers breathing in the dust created by a burning depleted uranium tip, for example, may end up with radioactive deposits of the metal in their lungs. The Royal Society study suggested that one in 1,000 soldiers who had had a large intake - eg been in a tank that was attacked with a depleted uranium missile - will die of lung cancer as a direct result of the radioactivity.

This compares to a lifetime risk of fatal lung cancer in the general population of about one in 250 for non-smokers. That means if 1,000 non-smokers are exposed to depleted uranium in heavy doses, five would die of lung cancer - rather than four if none had been exposed.)

Why have there been more concerns recently?

A recent study in Germany suggested that uranium molecules can travel to every part of the body, including to the sperm and eggs and that this increases the probability of cancer and damage to genes.

Soldiers who claimed to have been exposed to depleted uranium in the first Gulf war reported that their children had been born with deformed ears and toes and some suffered from bladder problems.

Though the work was peer-reviewed, many scientists have dismissed the study as unscientific and not being properly thought out. Opponents argue that the damage could have been the result of exposure to one of many dangerous chemicals that exist on a battlefield.

Can exposure be tested?

Depleted uranium can be detected by testing urine samples. The Ministry of Defence will be testing soldiers who believe they have been exposed to depleted uranium.

If they test positive, they will be able to have follow-up checks on their kidneys, as the metal tends to concentrate there and may affect its function.

How would civilians be affected?

Civilians would probably encounter depleted uranium after a battle and would be spared large doses.

Their problems would come from the possible contamination of food and water supplies. If these are affected, it is possible the depleted uranium will spread far from where it was initially used. The actual remnants of any missile can also remain in the ground for long periods of time and would remain potentially dangerous to anyone who ingested the pieces even decades later.

At present, the evidence suggests that there is little to worry about unless the metal is actually inside a person. However, the absolute risks are unknown and it may take decades of monitoring before we know how bad the problems are.

As it stands, smoking cigarettes will kill you far more quickly than being exposed to depleted uranium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by mr mahs

It's proven that this whole DU thing is overblown...

Depleted uranium

Soldiers returning from the Gulf will be tested for depleted uranium. Alok Jha explains what the metal is and the dangers associated with it

Friday April 25, 2003

What is it?

Depleted uranium is a toxic heavy metal. It is a by-product of the nuclear fuel and weapons industries.

Where does it come from?

Naturally occurring uranium is a mixture of two different kinds - uranium 235 and uranium 238.

Uranium 235 is by far the most radioactive kind. Unsurprisingly, this is the one that the nuclear fuel and weapons industries try to extract from the naturally occurring metal. When extracted it called "enriched uranium". This is what is used in fuel rods and nuclear weapons.

What is left over after the extraction process is called "depleted uranium". It is still a mixture of the two kinds (or isotopes) of uranium, but it is mainly made up uranium 238.

Who is using it in weapons?

The Americans and British have used vast amounts in both the recent and the last Gulf wars. They also used it in the Balkans.

How does a depleted uranium weapon work?

The use of depleted uranium in weapons has little to do with its hint of radioactivity, and everything to do with its high density. It is one of the more dense elements and that means a shell going at a particular speed carries an awful lot of momentum. It is that momentum which is useful.

Depleted uranium is nearly two-and-a-half times more dense than steel and more than one-and-a-half times more dense than lead. This means that a typical 2ft-long missile tipped with depleted uranium and weighing just under 5kg has enough momentum to break through the heavy armour of a tank. Once it has blasted through the armour, the uranium tip disintegrates. Because of the heat created, the particles of depleted uranium start burning.

What does it do to the soldiers under attack?

This is not pretty - the immediate effects of this weapon on a tank's crew will almost certainly be devastating. Aside from the shards of metal flying around, there is a danger of being burned or suffocating as the oxygen inside the vehicle is used up.

What about future contamination?

Longer-term damage to both people and the environment has been the subject of several studies in the past few years.

For soldiers working with, or attacked by, depleted uranium weapons, a long-term risk is simply the toxicity of the metal - rather than its radioactivity.

But a study conducted by the Royal Society last year concluded that the majority of soldiers and civilians in the last Gulf war were not exposed to levels of depleted uranium likely to cause what is known as heavy-metal poisoning.

What happens if it gets inside you?

Things are different if DU gets into your lungs or bloodstream; then the radioactivity is a factor.

Soldiers breathing in the dust created by a burning depleted uranium tip, for example, may end up with radioactive deposits of the metal in their lungs. The Royal Society study suggested that one in 1,000 soldiers who had had a large intake - eg been in a tank that was attacked with a depleted uranium missile - will die of lung cancer as a direct result of the radioactivity.

This compares to a lifetime risk of fatal lung cancer in the general population of about one in 250 for non-smokers. That means if 1,000 non-smokers are exposed to depleted uranium in heavy doses, five would die of lung cancer - rather than four if none had been exposed.)

Why have there been more concerns recently?

A recent study in Germany suggested that uranium molecules can travel to every part of the body, including to the sperm and eggs and that this increases the probability of cancer and damage to genes.

Soldiers who claimed to have been exposed to depleted uranium in the first Gulf war reported that their children had been born with deformed ears and toes and some suffered from bladder problems.

Though the work was peer-reviewed, many scientists have dismissed the study as unscientific and not being properly thought out. Opponents argue that the damage could have been the result of exposure to one of many dangerous chemicals that exist on a battlefield.

Can exposure be tested?

Depleted uranium can be detected by testing urine samples. The Ministry of Defence will be testing soldiers who believe they have been exposed to depleted uranium.

If they test positive, they will be able to have follow-up checks on their kidneys, as the metal tends to concentrate there and may affect its function.

How would civilians be affected?

Civilians would probably encounter depleted uranium after a battle and would be spared large doses.

Their problems would come from the possible contamination of food and water supplies. If these are affected, it is possible the depleted uranium will spread far from where it was initially used. The actual remnants of any missile can also remain in the ground for long periods of time and would remain potentially dangerous to anyone who ingested the pieces even decades later.

At present, the evidence suggests that there is little to worry about unless the metal is actually inside a person. However, the absolute risks are unknown and it may take decades of monitoring before we know how bad the problems are.

As it stands, smoking cigarettes will kill you far more quickly than being exposed to depleted uranium.

what is your source?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×