2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: cpeo <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Apr 2003 14:30:39 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Scientists debate safety of weapons
Scientists debate safety of weapons
By Joseph B. Verrengia, Associated Press
April 22, 2003

As soon as it's safe, the United Nations and international scientists
plan to fan out over Iraq's smoking battlegrounds to investigate whether
the leftovers of American firepower pose serious health or environmental
Thousands of rounds containing tons of depleted uranium were fired in
Iraq over the past four weeks.

Fragments of the armor-piercing munitions now litter the valleys and
neighborhoods between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

That's where most of the combat occurred and where most of Iraq's 24
million people live.

Wounded fighters and civilians also may carry depleted uranium shrapnel
in their bodies.

Many medical studies have failed to show a direct link between DU
exposure and human disease, though a study of rats linked intramuscular
fragments with increased cancer risk.

Test-tube experiments also suggest DU may trigger potentially dangerous
changes in cells.

The munitions are conventional and do not generate a nuclear blast.

Depleted uranium, a very dense metal fashioned from low-level
radioactive waste, allows them to easily pierce armor and buildings that
would deflect other projectiles.

The Pentagon vigorously defends the decisive battlefield advantage that
the super-hard metal provides and says the munitions do not create
pollution or health hazards. Tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and A-10
attack jets all fire depleted uranium rounds. Some missiles also contain
the material.

"There's going to be no impact on the health of people in the
environment or people who were there at the time," said Dr. Michael
Kilpatrick, a top Pentagon health official.

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