Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Depleted Uranium, a crime against humanity

The Lone Star Iconoclast Online:

"Depeted Uranium Bill Introduced Into Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. � Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), a medical doctor, on May 17 introduced legislation with 21 original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives that calls for medical and scientific studies on the health and environmental impacts from the U.S. Military�s use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions in combat zones, including Iraq. The McDermott bill also calls for cleanup and mitigation of sites in the U.S. contaminated by DU.
�The need is urgent and imperative for full, fair and impartial studies,� McDermott said. �We may be endangering the health and lives of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. All we�ve gotten so far from the Pentagon are assurances. We need facts backed by science. We don�t have that today.�
Because of its density, the military uses DU as a protective shield around tanks, and in munitions like armor piercing bullets and tank shells. DU tends to spontaneously ignite upon impact, disintegrating into a micro-fine residue that hangs suspended in the air where it can be inhaled and falls to the ground to leach into the soil.
DU is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process; it is chemically toxic. and DU has low-level radioactivity. About 300 metric tons of DU munitions were fired during the first Gulf War, and about half that amount has been used to date in the Iraq War. "