More on U-238
24 September 2002
Dear ujeni folks,
Hope you don’t mind. If so, press delete. Otherwise read on.
I did a little “Google” search on Uranium 238. Hundreds of references. The notes below verify in part the statement of Yumi Kikuchi in my previous message.
Medical Consequences of Depleted Uranium
Dr. Helen Caldicott
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
Cancer data from uranium workers in US facilities
Check out the link below for more related to the above.
For some counter claims the article below seems worthy of reading.
Junkscience.com -- Main Page
... The core of each round contained about 0.82 kilograms of almost pure uranium-238,
from which its 14 radioactive daughters and uranium-235 were separated. ...
www.junkscience.com/jan01/uranium.htm - 8k - Cached - Similar pages
And the article below adds an interesting point of view.
Weapons of Mass Destruction : TB Indymedia
... The fourth weapon of mass destruction was the use of depleted uranium or uranium
238. I prefer calling it uranium 238 because it is not depleted. ...
thunderbay.indymedia.org/news/2002/09/1377.php - 11k - 23 Sep 2002 - Cached
The weapons of mass destruction used by the United States on the Iraqi people.
The U.S. government and corporate media exhibit a lot of arrogance and duplicity in continually complaining about Iraq's possible possession of weapons of mass destruction. The United States has used four weapons of mass destruction against Iraq.
The first weapon of mass destruction was the massive bombing of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and there was no way of fighting back, since they don't have an air force capable of protecting their cities or causing American losses. Political activist Helen Caldicott called it a massacre and not a war, since Iraq was so inferior in power to the United States.
The second weapon of mass destruction was the embargo, which according to the United Nation's own figures has caused the deaths of over one million Iraqi people, including 500,000 children. When asked about the deaths of Iraqi children on 60 Minutes, Madeleine Albright replied: " We think the price is worth it."
The third weapon of mass destruction was the bombing of the water purification and sewage systems and the hold placed by the embargo on parts to repair these systems. The drinking of impure water has led to outbreaks of infectious diseases in Iraq. This is a form of biological warfare. Researcher Thomas Nagy has discovered Defense Intelligence Agency documents that prove that the bombing of the water and sewage systems and denial of repair parts was a deliberate strategy by the United States to cause disease in Iraq.
The fourth weapon of mass destruction was the use of depleted uranium or uranium 238. I prefer calling it uranium 238 because it is not depleted. The more radioactive uranium 235 has been removed, but it is still radioactive and emits gamma, beta and alpha radiation. The cancer rate in Basra in southern Iraq, where most uranium 238 was used, is six times normal, and children are being born with the most appalling birth defects like hands growing directly from the shoulders, noses above the eyes, no fully developed brains, etc. These birth defects are similar to those seen after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and have also occurred in the children of Persian Gulf war veterans.
The cowardice of the corporate media in reporting on this situation is truly disgusting. Only journalists like Jeremy Scahill of Pacifica Radio and British journalist John Pilger have told this story. The medicines to treat the cancers are under embargo as is the morphine to treat the pain. Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and former U.N. humanitarian co-ordinater for Iraq Denis Halliday brought in medicine against the embargo to treat a little Iraqi girl named Saffa. She recovered, but thousands of children die.
The use of radioactive weapons is a very pernicious form of terrorism. The effects can be passed from generation to generation and will disappear only after billions of years. The half-life of uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years. To even consider using more uranium 238 on the suffering Iraqi people is pure insanity. President George W. Bush talks a lot about evil in the world. This is a perfect description of another attack on Iraq- EVIL!