"But isn't it depleted?" a woman asks,"Doesn't that mean it's gone?"
It does not mean it's gone, they tell her, and proceed to share the story of a military husband, exposed to DU, whose baby was born with birth defects. "They can't do that." She says decisively. She does not think that this sort of thing happens to babies. She probably thinks that FEMA never left anyone on a rooftop to die either. Is it not common knowledge that when you enlist, your body becomes property of the US? Do people not know of the cases of testing, exposure, trials- all using "GI guinea pigs"? Don't the recruiters talk about depleted uranium and the possible risks to children? Of course they don't.
They can get away with this and they do. And for the soldiers exposed, they are not 'entitled' to information about the risks and possible consequences of DU contamination. They do not have the "Right to Know" as you might in industries under OSHA and employer disclosure laws. You DO NOT have the right to know in their eyes.
Dave Lindorff explains the link between DU and birth defects in the August 2005 issue of "In These Times". His article: "Radioactive Wounds of War: Tests on Returning Troops Suggest Serious Health Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in Iraq" describes the testing of exposed service men and women and describes the horrific consequences of depleted uranium:
"DU hits its target, it burns at a high temperature,throwing off clouds of microscopic particles that poison a wide area and remain radioactive for billions of years. If inhaled, these particles can lodge in the lungs, other organs or bones, irradiating tissue and casuing cancers."
"...the element has an affinity for bonding with DNA, where even trace amounts can cause cancers and fetal abnormalities," he says, citing pathologist Thomas Fasey's comments on its chemical toxicity. He participated in the testing of a unit of the NY National Guard.
Depleted uranium was used in the 1991 Gulf War and again during the Balkans conflict. It is now used in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Do you think that the US government is being upfront about the health implications of exposure to DU? Do you think potential partners who may have their children are told of the risks to their babies? Do they warn soldiers of possible diseases like atypical syndactyly, caused by radiation? Photos
Women should take notice and pay attention to this issue- the long term consequences of this toxic weapon are not only tragic for the soldiers and civilians exposed, but to future generations and the unborn.
Below are some links to do some reading. It will shock and anger you. Even if you have already heard about DU issues, the consequences for these children will stay with you.
DU Issues at Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Uranium Medical Research Center
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium
International Depleted Uranium Study Team
Photos of DU Deformities