|Date:||22 Nov 1997 15:38:26|
|Subject:||Dangers of DU Weaponry|
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 1997 FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Military Toxics Project, (207)783-5091 Dan Fahey, Swords to Plowshares, (415)247-8777 Chris Kornkven, National Gulf War Resource Center, (404)373-5507 Henk Van Der Keur, LAKA, Netherlands 011-31-20-616-8294 Dennis Flaherty, Veterans for Peace, UK 011-44-144-320-4522 Cassandra Garner, Gulf War Veteran Dr. Asaf Durakovic, Washington D.C. Dr. Seigwart Horst Gunther, International Yellow Cross, Austria John Paul Hasko, Former worker Tennessee Nuclear Specialties (TNS) Vina Colley, Worker Portsmouth Enrichment Plant, Ohio International Forum Calls Attention to the Use and Dangers of Depleted Uranium Weaponry Washington, DC--Today, at a press conference at the National Press Club, the Military Toxics Project (MTP), a national grassroots organization working on Department of Defense environmental issues, in partnership with other local, national, and international organizations, released Army training videos which have been withheld from military personnel regarding the health and environmental dangers associated with depleted uranium (DU) weaponry. The training videos, completed in 1995 by the Army's Depleted Uranium Project, were obtained from an Army officer who is concerned that active duty soldiers are still not receiving proper training about the use and dangers of depleted uranium munitions. The training videos highlight the dangers of depleted uranium and the need for strict safety measures when coming into contact with contaminated vehicles and personnel injured by uranium fragments. Armor-piercing rounds and tank armor made of depleted uranium were used for the for the first time in warfare in Operation Desert Storm. "MTP has maintained that the radioactive and toxicological affects of DU are worse than the Pentagon has ever admitted, and may be linked, in part, to health problems that are affecting Persian Gulf veterans, their spouses and offspring," stated Dolores Lymburner, organizer for MTP's DU work. During the Gulf War, military commanders withheld basic warnings about the use of depleted uranium munitions and ways to avoid exposure. When a DU round impacts a target, it burns up causing radioactive and toxic dust which can be transported by wind and water, entering the body via inhalation, ingestion, or wound contamination. MTP held the press conference as the culmination to a three day international forum on DU, bringing together citizens, Indigenous Peoples, scientists, doctors, workers and veterans from several different countries who have been affected in some way by mining, manufacture, testing, or use of DU weaponry. Attendees at the conference signed the International Statement on Depleted Uranium calling for: an end to production and use of DU munitions worldwide health care, cleanup and compensation, the dissemination of information and training to workers and soldiers regarding the hazards of depleted uranium exposure an independent international scientific and medical commission With the impending possibility that U.S. and allied troops may return to the Persian Gulf, conference attendees also agreed to a call to President Clinton asking that "all suspect toxicological and radiological agents, within allied military control, including depleted uranium ordnance, used by the military in the war, be immediately prohibited from use and combat or punitive action." Civilian populations in Kuwait and Iraq are still being exposed to more than 600,000 pounds of DU dust and fragments which lie on Gulf War battlefields. Not only is the U.S. using DU weapons in Bosnia, but at least seventeen countries now have depleted uranium penetrators in their arsenals. As groups like MTP and Gulf War veterans organizations increase the awareness of the dangers of DU weapons, veterans have begun to request, and have been denied, appropriate testing and treatment of DU-related health problems. Since 1991, MTP has facilitated networking and information dissemination amongst impacted citizens that live near DU production, mining, testing, and disposal sites, workers from DU manufacturers, Persian Gulf and Atomic veterans, and communities of color. MTP is a national network of groups working to clean up military pollution, safe-guard the transportation of hazardous materials, and advance pollution prevention and health-related issues at Department of Defense installations. MTP's national office is located in Maine. --30--
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