THE SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT AGAINST DU

 


SUNDAY HERALD (SCOTLAND)
January 21st 2001

REVEALED: HOW JUST ONE SINGLE ATOM OF DU CAN CAUSE CANCER
by Rob Edwards, Environment Editor

The furious international row over the risks of depleted uranium weapons is set to flare up again with the revelation that a single atom of uranium inside the body is enough to trigger cancer.

Scientists from a government-funded medical research laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire have produced the first direct proof that a single alpha particle emitted by uranium can damage human cells. The damage, they say, is a crucial step in the development of tumours.

Arguments over the health hazards of depleted uranium (DU) have been raging since the UN Environment Programme announced earlier this month that eight out of 11 sites in Kosovo were contam inated with radioactivity. Nearly one million rounds of ammunition containing 300 tonnes of DU have been fired in the Balkans and Gulf wars over the last 10 years, mostly by US forces.

The new evidence will reinforce the growing chorus of demands for a ban on the use of DU in weapons, at least until the health risks for soldiers and civilians have been fully investigated. Last week the European Parliament voted 626 to 394 in favour of a moratorium while an independent study into the potential health risks was carried out.

Although Nato and the British Ministry of Defence continue to insist that there is no evidence that any ill health has been caused by DU munitions, politicians, war veterans and scientists maintain there is a problem, particularly with excess cancers and leukaemias. Tomorrow the World Health Organisation is sending a team of experts to Kosovo to examine whether there are any links between civilians exposed to DU and cancers.

The new British study was conducted by the Radiation and Genome Stability Unit at Harwell in association with Mount Vernon Hospital in London. Groups  of human blood cells were exposed to a single alpha particle in the laboratory and left to divide a dozen times or more. Researchers found that 25% of the daughter cells had distinctive patterns of broken and bent chromosomes. This effect, christened "radiation-induced  genomic instability", is thought to be part of the complex chain of biological events that can end up as cancer. "This work shows directly for the first time that even a single alpha particle can induce genomic instability in a cell. That may be important in assessing risks of cancer from alpha-emitting radionuclides in the body," said the Harwell unit’s director, Professor Dudley Goodhead. "It suggests that even the smallest amount carries some, very small, risk. However, for materials such as low-activity uranium it may well be that the radiation is less harmful than chemical effects of the metal in the cell."

Although alpha particles are not a very penetrating form of radiation, when inside the body they can do significant harm to any living cells they happen to pass through. They are emitted by plutonium and other radionuclides as well as uranium.

Last week, the Ministry of Def ence admitted that traces of plutonium could also be present in DU weapons, left over from processing by the nuclear power  industry. That, experts pointed out, inevitably increased the risk because plutonium emitted more alpha particles than DU.

Mike Thorne, a uranium specialist with AEA Technology, a spin-off company from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, also in Harwell, thought that the new  study strengthened the need to find out how much DU had found its way inside people during the conflicts in the Gulf and the Balkans. But he agreed with Goodhead that the chemical effects of DU could be even more dangerous than its radiological impact. "It is a toxic heavy metal," he said.  "It would be reasonable to put a moratorium on its use as a munition until we have investigated the amounts to which people have been exposed."

Most radiobiologists have dismissed the much highlighted suggestion that soldiers exposed to DU in Kosovo in 1999 could already have developed leukaemia as a result. It was much too soon after the exposure for the disease to be diagnosed, they said. But Sue Roff, a radiation researcher from the Centre for Medical Education at the University of Dundee, has dug up evidence that suggests the radiation-induced leukaemias can develop surprisingly quickly. The first cases were discovered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1947 and 1948, just two or three years after the US destroyed the cities with atomic bombs.

"In studies of patients who have received radiation therapy, the period of greatest risk for developing leukaemia has been reported as two to five years  after exposure. I am aware of at least six men, most in their 20s, who were diagnosed with leukaemia within five years of their participation in the UK nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and 1960s," Roff told the Sunday Herald. "In Japan, leukaemia was the first malignancy that appeared among the  survivors and this fact triggered a major research study which is still in operation today. I would have thought that the appearance of leukaemia among soldiers selected for their fitness for active duty would trigger similar studies as part of the government’s duty of care."


IS THE LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVITY HIGH ENOUGH TO ACCOUNT FOR THE DAMAGE?
Extract from self-published pamphlet: 'DEPLETED URANIUM AND ITS' POSSIBLE EFFECTS ON PEOPLE'
by Professor Margaret Ryle, October 1999

1. INTERNAL RADIATION

Alpha-particles and Beta particles are components of the nuclei of atoms. As a radioactive material decays they may be emitted as radiactivity. Alpha particles are soon stopped by whatever material they pass through. Beta particles are smaller and can travel farther; they are emitted by decay products of U-238.

Radiation from DU outside the body is relatively unimportant. When U-238 decays Alpha-particles are released, but, although these are among the most damaging forms of radioactivity for living tissues, they can not pass through human skin. They are absorbed in the outer layers of dead cells (though this may not be entirely true for the skin of very young children).

In contrast the fine, largely insoluable 'beads' formed when DU burns can be inhaled or swallowed. Internally if, for example, they stick to or become embedded in the lining of the lungs, each will continue to release Alpha-particles in the same region of surrounding tissue for months or years. The dead and severely damaged cells resulting from this constant bombardment may eventually be replaced by scar tissue, which could account for the severe fibrosis seen in the lungs of Gulf war veterans. Other damaged cells may eventually give rise to cancer.

2. LOCAL CONCENTRATIONS

Within the body DU dust is not distributed uniformly. Average doses, based on the total radioactivity in the whole body, are meaningless. Normal body processes can lead to high concentrations in particular tissues where DU is trapped. Nearby cells with important physiological functions may then be exposed to continuing radiation over long periods.

EXAMPLE 1: Uranium can be incorporated into bone at sites normally occupied by calcium. [1] Once built into bone it is likely to stay there for a long time. When bones are growing, as in children, and if Uranium is present in the body, their content may become particularly high. (A high calcium diet, with lots of milk, would probably reduce the quantity of U-238 built into growing bone, but sanctions make such a diet impossible in Iraq).

The marrow in the larger bones contains special actively dividing cells which give rise to various types of blood cell. If the bone near them contains U-238 they will be exposed to radioactivity   and the vulnerable dividing cells may be damaged. This could lead to anaemia, depressed immune responses and leukemia, so widely seen in Iraqi children.

EXAMPLE 2: Specialised 'scavenger' cells pick up bacteria and specks of other 'foreign' matter from the lungs and carry them to the lymph nodes. [2] Small specks of inhaled DU are likely to be collected in this way, and being largely insoluable, accumulate there.

Cells responsible for producing antibodies to cope with bacteria and viruses etc are also based in the lymph nodes. They react to infections in two ways: they increase antibody production and they increase their own number by dividing. [3]

Again, since dividing cells are particularly vulnerable to radiation damage, the accumulated DU particles in the lymph nodes are likely to depress the normal reponses to infections. Together with DU-affected bone marrow, this could account for the deficient immune responses observed in the Iraqi population and in Gulf war veterans. At the same time cancer in the lymph nodes is to be expected.

3. THE RADIOACTIVE DECAY SEQUENCE AND BETA-PARTICLES

When an atom of U-238 decays it emits an Alpha-particle and becomes Thorium-234. This is the first step in a sequence of decay events. Thorium-234 is not stable and the atom soon decays further, emitting a Beta-particle. The product of this decay, Protoactinium-234, is even less stable, with a half-life of only 6.7 hours. It also emits a Beta-particle as it decays.

So, two Beta-particles are emitted from the same place within a few hours of each other.

Busby [4] has pointed out that such situations can have serious consequences:

When a cell is first damaged by a Beta-particle a repair process is set in motion. The stages of repair follow a definite time-course and end with cell division. However, if a second Beta-particle damages the cell further within about 10 hours of the first, full repair may become impossible. In particular the genetic code may be copied incorrectly. Incorrect copying can result in cancers, foetal abnormalities and premature aging.

Half the atoms of Protoactinum-234 will decay within 6.7 hours of being formed. Half will decay at later times. The emission of a Beta-particle from many will occur during the critical 10 hour cell repair period, and of these a proportion will strike the original target cells. So the daughter products of U-238 provide an efficient way of damaging the genetic code in spite of low radioactivity.

This efficiency is increased further by the fact that in all cells through which the first Beta-particle passes the repair process will be synchronised. A group of 'skittles' will thus be set up for the second Beta-particle to knock down.

 

These notes show how some of the major health defects observed in Iraq and amongst Gulf war veterans could be due to DU in spite of its' low radioactivity. Similar defects may become apparent in Kosovo during the next few years. Carfeul and objective work could confirm, add to, modify or disprove the proposed explanations. Meanwhile DU weapons should be banned until it is certain that their content of U-238 is harmless, even when burned.

 

[1]  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TOXICITY - Page 381 - Editor: P.WEXLER (1998)

[2]  HUMAN HISTOLOGY - Second Edition - Page 170 - A. STEVENS and J. LOWE

[3]  TEXTBOOK OF ANATOMY - Page 138 - A.W. ROGERS (1992)

[4]  WINGS OF DEATH : NUCLEAR POLLUTION AND HUMAN HEALTH - C. BUSBY (1995)

 


Why Depleted Uranium should not be used in War
A Medact Briefing -
Researched and written by Dr Douglas Holdstock

Posted on MEDACT web site 6th January 2001

In both the USA and the UK, military personnel (and probably civilians working with them, though this is less well documented) who served in the 1991 Gulf War have been found to have an increased incidence of ill health. The symptoms do not appear to fall into any clear-cut pattern of illness but can be interpreted as stress-related, e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder, or physical, related to neuromuscular disturbance or immunological disorder. It also appears that, over and above the devastating effects of the war on the economy of Iraq and its health services, there is an increased prevalence of cancers, including leukaemia, and birth defects.

Since the end of the conflict, it has become clear that depleted uranium (DU), in amounts, according to various estimates, of from 300 to 700 tonnes was used in weapons. DU is radioactive and chemotoxic, and has been blamed both for illnesses in allied Gulf war veterans and in Iraqi civilians. This Medact Briefing considers whether DU or some other agent could have caused the illnesses, concludes that DU should not be used in weaponry, and recommends further assessment of its health and environmental effects.

What is DU?

DU is natural uranium from which much of the fissile U-235 isotope has been removed for use in nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons. The remaining U-238 is not fissile. It is radioactive, though very much less so than plutonium and less than U-235. Uranium was created in a supernova explosion before the formation of the Solar System. The half-lives are:

	U-238 (depleted uranium)		4,500 million years
	U-235				           710 million years
	Pu-239				       24,400 years

(The shorter the half-life of an isotope, the more highly radioactive it is.)

All emit alpha rays.

DU as a weapon

DU is used to make missiles which can penetrate armour, for example in anti-tank missiles. After penetration the DU forms a powder which is 'pyrophoric', burning to form a fine dust of uranium oxides which can be inhaled or ingested.

Potential toxicity of DU

DU has the usual risks of radioactive substances, principally damage to DNA, which could lead to cancer, including leukaemia, and hereditary defects. Given its low activity, many radiobiologists feel that the risks are small, and that its activity is much too low to cause the reported cancers in Iraqis. On the other hand, there is a growing body of evidence that the risks of alpha-emitters may be greater than previously regarded, because of the recently discovered phenomenon of genomic instability. In the case of DU, if the dust inhaled stays in the same place in the lung for a long period, this could also increase its hazard. The risk would be greater for smokers. For any radiation source, a basic principle is that all exposures should be As Low As Reasonably Attainable.

Uranium, as a heavy metal, is chemically toxic, of the same order as lead and mercury. Ingested oxides could be converted to chlorides and absorbed. Uranium has been detected in the blood and urine in Gulf war returnees, apparently in appreciable amounts in the case of some, including those who went into damaged tanks soon after the war, where amounts of dust would have been greatest. However, it is difficult to infer body load of uranium from blood and urine levels, and the reported patterns of illness in returnees does not fit with uranium toxicity, which mainly affects the liver and kidneys.

Other possible causes of Gulf War Illness

A variety of other toxic agents were liberated into the environment during the two Gulf wars, and could be responsible in whole or part for the illnesses in those exposed.

Toxic smoke

The smoke from burning oil wells and fuel dumps contained vast amounts of polycyclic hydrocarbons, which are potent carcinogens. Given the time-scale of cancer development, it is doubtful whether this source would have caused increased cancer over the time scale seen, and the cancers would be most likely to be in the respiratory and urinary tracts.

Multiple immunisations

Troops (but not civilians?) being sent to the Gulf were given large numbers of immunisations against disease prevalent in the area (typhoid) and possible biological warfare agents (anthrax, plague). Some of the vaccines had been hardly used in humans; some may well have been given in untried and unlicensed schedules; few if any would have previously been given so close together. All this could well lead to immune disturbances, perhaps manifested as muscle and joint symptoms. In a survey of UK veterans, Unwin & colleagues (Lancet, 18 Jan 1999, vol 353, pp 169-78) found a significant increase of symptoms in those given anthrax and plague vaccines and multiple vaccines, though they suggested that this might reflect anxiety over being at risk of exposure to BW agents.

Insecticides

Large amounts of organo-phosphate insecticides such as malathion were used to dust the inside of tents. The use of these is supposed to be carefully controlled, as they are undoubtedly toxic to humans, producing troublesome and persistent disturbances of neuro-muscular co-ordination. Some of the symptoms reported by veterans are very suggestive of this cause. In July, a report was published attributing very similar symptoms in farmers to the past use of organo-phosphate sheep dips which are closely related to malathion.

Insecticides and multiple vaccines are unlikely to be responsible for post-Gulf-War illnesses in Iraqis.

Chemical Weapon Agents

Before the Gulf War Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons (CW). These fall into two main categories, mustard gas and nerve gases. Mustard gas damages DNA; it is a known carcinogen, and is a potential cause of birth defects. Nerve gases, which are also organo-phosphates, produce rapid paralysis by blocking neuromuscular transmission, but unlike insecticides are (by design) highly specific for mammals. Sub-lethal exposures can have long lasting effects.

On numerous occasions during the Gulf War, the CW sensors on allied bases went off; these alarms were ignored apparently on the grounds that no weapons had landed so that the sensors must have been faulty (they were made in Czechoslovakia). It is far from impossible, though, that CW agents were liberated by allied bombing of Iraqi arms factories and stores, and in the dry climate could have been widely disseminated.

CW agents were used by Iraq against the Kurds around Halabja and by both sides in Iran v Iraq war, particularly in Southern Iraq near Basra where the increase in birth defects and cancers has been reported. But there is a similar increase in the Halabja neighbourhood, where DU-containing weapons were not used.

It could well be that CW agents, particularly mustard gas, rather than DU, are the cause of the Iraqi cancers and birth defects.

Interaction

All these toxic agents could interact. It is well known that when two active drugs are given in routine medical practice, unexpected harmful interactions can occur. Interactions can be additive or even multiplicative. No one knows at present whether DU can interact with vaccines, insecticides or CW agents, and it would be impossible to find out except by planned observations in war situations.

Further studies needed

The case against DU as a cause of Gulf War illnesses is, then, far from proven, and there are other possible causes. Further research could help to distinguish between them. Such studies should be carefully planned to include a large sample of GW veterans (not only those complaining of illness in response to questionnaires) and also those exposed to DU in Kosovo.

Special studies should include:

Full measurements of urinary uranium levels and where required other body fluids (bearing in mind that these are difficult to interpret).
Detailed immunological profile (effects of immunisations).
Thorough neurological investigation including nerve conduction studies (effects of insecticides and nerve agents).


In respect of the Iraqis, careful specialised cytogenetic and molecular biological studies might distinguish between cancers due to radiation and to chemical mutagens such as mustard gas. It is, though, hard to imagine these being feasible in the short term in the present disrupted state of the health services in Iraq, even if government authorisation were given.

Conclusion

Even if such studies as proposed suggest that vaccines, insecticides or CW agents rather than DU are the probable cause of Gulf war illnesses, nevertheless Medact believes that DU should not be used in weaponry. The use of an agent that is radioactive and a chemical poison is surely a breach of the Geneva conventions governing the conduct of war. Weapons should not damage the environment or harm non-combatants; DU dispersed in dust could do both. Nevertheless, DU-containing weapons were also recently used by NATO in Kosovo.

The 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (better known as the 'Inhumane Weapons Convention') prohibits certain conventional weapons deemed excessively injurious or having indiscriminate effects. It is an umbrella agreement, with several protocols (one, for example, banning blinding laser weapons) to which others can be added. A protocol banning weapons containing DU could readily be added to the CCW Convention.

Recommendations

Careful studies of Gulf veterans' health should be carried out, including special tests for evidence of uranium exposure, vaccine damage and nervous system damage from insecticides and/or nerve gases. The claims of increased cancers, leukaemias and birth defects in Iraq should be assessed, and, if verified, their causes investigated.

NATO should state openly how much DU was used in Kosovo and where. As part of the clean-up operation, the effects of the uranium and the health of the exposed population should be carefully monitored and, if technically possible, any local concentrations removed.

The ALARA principle (all radiation exposures should be As Low As Reasonably Attainable) implies that radioactive substances should not be used in weapons which can disseminate radio-activity.

A Protocol banning the use of DU in weaponry should be added to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (the Inhumane Weapons Convention).


Medical Consequences of Depleted Uranium
by Dr. Helen Caldicott

Posted on STOP NATO web site 2nd March 2001

On October 30, 1943 senior Manhattan Project scientists – the S-1 Executive Committee on the "Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon" – in a letter to General Leslie Groves, postulated that the inhalation of uranium would be followed by "bronchial irritation coming on in a few hours to a few days….Beta emitting products could get into the gastrointestinal tract from polluted water, or food, or air. From the air, they would get on the mucus of the nose, throat bronchi, etc. The stomach, caecum and rectum, where contents remain for longer periods than elsewhere would be most likely affected. It is conceivable that ulcers and perforations of the gut followed by death could be produced…" And so on. 

They could have been describing some of the acute medical affects experienced by the Gulf War veterans after they were exposed to depleted uranium, DU, now littering the former battlefields of the Gulf War and the Balkans – and in fact they were, although DU has half the radioactivity of natural uranium as described above. 

DU is actually uranium 238, what's left after the fissionable element uranium 235 is extracted from the ore and used as fuel for weapons and nuclear reactors. 700,000 tons of this discarded radioactive material accumulated over the last 60 years throughout the United States until the American military discovered that it was valuable. Almost twice as dense as lead, it sliced through the armor of tanks like a hot knife through butter. As it was free and plentiful, DU bullets and shells would be cheap to make. But uranium 238 has dangerous properties. It is pyrophoric, bursting into flames when it hits tanks at great speed. The fire oxidizes the uranium, and up to 70% is converted into microscopic aerosolized particles to be inhaled into the small air passage of the lung where it can reside for many years. 

Because radioactive uranium 238 and its decay products are both alpha and beta emitters, as a carcinogen it can damage cells in the lung, bone, kidney, prostate, gut and brain causing cancer in those organs, as found in a 1999 review of US uranium workers conducted by the Department of Energy. Following inhalation it is solubilized and transferred from the lung to other organs, including liver, fat and muscle. Eventually it is excreted through the kidney where, because it is a heavy metal, it induces nephritis, a chronic kidney disease. Studies of Gulf War veterans find they are excreting uranium 238 in their urine and semen. It has been estimated that some 300,000 US veterans have been exposed to inhaled DU. 

Children in Iraq – where over 300 tons of DU in spent shells and aerosolized powder was left behind by the Allies – are reported to have a higher than normal incidence of malignancies and congenital malformations. Similar reports come from Bosnian and Kosovo hospitals, while some studies of children of American veterans seem to show a higher than normal incidence of congenital disease. 

The US Department of Energy recently admitted that contaminated uranium reprocessed from military reactors had been mixed with the "pure" DU at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky. This contaminated uranium contains traces of neptunium, plutonium and uranium 236 – elements which are thousands of times more carcinogenic than the uranium. 

Uranium 238 has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, while neptunium 237 and plutonium 239 which are many times more carcinogenic than uranium, have half lives of some hundreds of thousands of years. Therefore, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo are contaminated with carcinogenic radioactive elements forever. And because the latent period of carcinogenesis – the incubation time for malignancy, ranges from 5 to 60 years, it is almost certain that malignancies reported in the NATO troops and peacekeepers who served in the Balkans and the American soldiers and their allies who served in the Gulf, as well as civilians who live in these countries, are just the tip of the iceberg.  

References: British & European Press 
Pentagon documents 
Cancer data from uranium workers in US facilities 


The Dirty War against Iraq from 1991 Onwards

Speech by Professor Mona Khammas at the Roundtable Conference, 30th July 1999

Consultant Pathologist Specialist in Oncology - Studied at the University of Liverpool (1976 to 1980).
Professor of Pathology at University of Baghdad, and Consultant to the Ministry of Health in Baghdad.

The U.S and allies claim that the war they launched against Iraq was a clean war and that they used nothing but conventional weapons in their attack. I would like to deal with extremely important issue, that is to see how clean was that war, and the impact of weapons used against Iraq on human health and the environment which were both considered to be essential human rights.

Facts and Figures:

1) The Allies used 141,921 tonnes of explosives against Iraq.

2) This is equal to 7 atomic bombs similar to that dropped on Hiroshima.

3) 5000-6000 bombs were fired by tanks.

4) 10,000 bombs were released from aircraft.

5) Napalm, cluster and air fuel bombs had been used by the Allies.

6) Depleted Uranium (DU) was used by the Allies in the war for the first time in the history of mankind.

7) More than 300 tons of DU were used by the Allies and still left behind in the region polluting the environment and threatening human health by both its radioactivity and high chemical toxicity.

8) All of the above were not only used against the Iraqi armed forces but much of them were used against civilians, shelters and other civilian instructors well away from the battlefield.

9) The threatening to civilians did not end by the cease-fire. The U.S kept threatening the people in Iraq by sending their missile and releasing warrants without any reasonable justification.


The Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons
:

1) For the first time in the history of international conflicts the U.S and the U.K used radiological weapons against Iraq armed forces during the period 17\1\1991 and 1-3\ 3\ 1991, i.e. after declaring cease-fire.

2) Pentagon documents revealed that 300 tons of Depleted Uranium were used against the Iraqi armed forces in Basra and Kuwait. While the American Green Peace Group and the Dutch Larka Research Foundation say about 700-800 tons were used on the south of Iraq and Kuwait during the same period.

3) The use of these weapons is prohibited by the first Hague Agreement 1899, the second Hague Agreement 1907, the first Geneva Agreement 1925, the second Geneva Agreement in 1949, the Nuremberg Charter in 1945 and the Special War Crimes Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, as well as the principles of International Law: Use of weapons or tactics, which cause unnecessary or aggravated devastation or suffering. Use of weapons or tactics, which cause indiscriminate harm i.e. to non-combatants. Use of weapons or tactics, which cause indiscriminate or long term and severe damage to the environment.

4) In Um Al-Maarik the U.S and U.K used planes and tanks of all kinds to attack the Iraqi armed forces.

5) This huge quantity of Depleted Uranium and its byproduct of radioactive aerosols and poisonous gasses are seven hundred thousand times more than the amount of radioactive aerosols released from the national lead plant near colony, near New York (where DU bullets are manufactured), which the American government to close it immediately.

6) CPIAB took up the task of investigating the damages and long term effects of this crime on man and environment in Iraq. The committee in close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and the Republican guard Central took the following actions: Define the areas most affected by DU weapons in the southern part of Iraq, Clear those areas from minefields and unexploded bombs, Mark the contaminated areas to prevent people from getting close to, for fear of radioactive contamination. Survey the Iraqi part of the Arabian Gulf in search of sunken or damaged targets by DU. The CPIAB cooperated with specialized authorities to carry out the sampling analysis, research and studies of different environment and medical cases to access the extent of damages sustained by the use of these weapons. The results showed the following:


Environmental Research and Studies:

Five areas in Basra Province were chosen ; Zubir, Safwan, Jabal Sanam , North and South Rumaila. Heavy use of DU took place in these areas. 70 out of 124 measurements recorded more than the background (about ten times more, where the natural background in these areas were normally 7 uRh and some readings were up to 184 uRh) . samples from surface and ground water and sediments in water canals close to the bombard tanks and military vehicles were collected and tested. 58 of these samples showed increase in radioactive nucleoids and the sediments in mount Sanam and North Rumaila areas. 61 out of 124 soil samples recorded several times more than the natural background. Some of the samples gave reading of (995-36205 Bq \kg) compared to the natural reading of 70 Bq\km. About 1718 km of the above mentioned areas are contaminated (Radioactive Contamination). 154 samples (plants and animals) were tested, 36% of them showed radioactive contamination. The environmental damage was not confined to the bombard areas but was spread to the whole region and neighbouring countries and the elements of the environment; soil, water, air, plants and animals. This widespread pollution has both short and long serious adverse impact on human health, animal and plants. The International Community is also required to provide support to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people from the most serious deterioration of environmental quality caused by the war and the unjust continuation of the sanctions imposed on Iraq.


Medical Research and Studies
:

Medical studies for military personnel who were in the battlefield, both in the South of Iraq and Kuwait, during the same period in 1991 showed a high rise in cancer cases of all kinds. The following table illustrates the data for different types of cancer (1425 persons). The chemical toxicity of DU was also studied. Graduate studies and research carried out at different Iraqi Universities and institutions showed a correlation between DU chemical toxicity and cancer cases. Congenital anomalies are 3.1 in Basra compared to 1.8 in Iraq as a whole. Substantial changes in the types of cancer were recorded. High rises in leukaemia, lymphoma, bone cancer were recorded while the average age of cancer patients is lower than before, i.e., cases at an early age were recorded contrary to the international standards. Incidence of some types of cancer which were not known or familiar in Iraq previously such as brain and live cancers had been recorded in increasing numbers. Cellular and physiological changes in some patients were recorded in a large number, which is an indication of being exposed to DU byproducts (causes-effects-relationship). There has been a high rise in hereditary disease resulting from chromosomal changes such as eye disease 2.5; Mongoloid children 6.6; change in number and shape of some organs 1.3; shrinkage in the head (or its' disappearance) twice the number. Growth retardation for children of 6 years of age by about (14 months) compared to the normal. The above mentioned facts are well documented and presented to the international organizations showing the crime of the century against the Iraqi people and their environment.


 

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