Depeted Uranium Bill Introduced Into Congress
- Depeted Uranium Bill Introduced Into Congress
See Congressman Jim McDermott's Press Release:
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.
�I�ve been concerned about DU since veterans of the first Gulf War began to
experience unexplained illnesses, commonly called �Gulf War Syndrome� that
remain mysterious,� McDermott said.
McDermott added that there are reports from Iraqi doctors and others today
of seemingly unexplained serious illnesses including higher rates of cancer
and leukemia, and even birth defects.
�We pretended there was no problem with Agent Orange after Vietnam and later
the Pentagon recanted, after untold suffering by veterans. I want to know
scientifically if DU poses serious dangers to our soldiers and Iraqi
The Depleted Uranium Munitions Study Act of 2005 has 21 original
co-sponsors, all Democrats, including: Reps. Charles Rangel, Pete Stark,
Sherrod Brown, Peter DeFazio, Maurice Hinchey, Raul Grijalva, Jan
Schakowsky, Robert Wexler, Sam Farr, Tammy Baldwin, Robert Andrews, Bob
Filner, Jay Inslee, Jose Serrano, Lynn Woolsey, Earl Blumenauer, Bart
Stupak, Mike Honda, Tom Udall, Barney Frank and Ed Markey.
Copyright �2004 The Lone Star Iconoclast
* * *
"If Depleted Uranium is Safe, Let Them Prove It"
Congressman Jim McDermott's introductory statement in the
House of Representatives - May 17, 2005
Madam Speaker, today on behalf of 21 original Democratic co-sponsors, I am
introducing the Depleted Uranium Munitions Study. The stakes could not be
higher for U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians, and there is not a moment to
lose, and I hope the Republican leadership will put it on the Suspension
DU, as it is called, is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process. It is
toxic and has low-level radioactivity, and it is widely used by the United
States military in Iraq.
There are countless stories of mysterious illnesses, higher rates of serious
illnesses and even birth defects. We do not know what role, if any, DU plays
in the medical tragedies in Iraq, but we must find out.
The Pentagon says there is no evidence that DU is harmful; yet the Pentagon
also says soldiers should wear protective gear, including special clothing
and a respirator, using DU. An Iraqi child has no protective gear. The Iraqi
people have no respirators. If DU is so safe, why do American soldiers need
to wear protective clothing in the first place?
We do not know if DU is safe or harmful; yet we have used 150 tons in the
war so far.
Let the Pentagon prove that it is safe.
* * * * * * * * * *
Organizer, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition