- The Pentagon's duplicity about the dangers of depleted
uranium has been exposed by a government-funded study confirming that radiation
- LIVERMORE, California - The U.S. government's duplicity
about the harmful effects of depleted uranium appears to have no limits.
While the Pentagon tells U.S. military personnel that the health risks
from inhaling depleted uranium are low, a study - sponsored by the Dept.
of Defense - confirms that even low-level radiation causes cancer.
- A government-funded study has confirmed what nuclear
experts have known for decades: Any dose of ionizing radiation poses serious
- The National Research Council of the National Academy
of Sciences published a report in June 2005 confirming that ionizing radiation
(IR) causes cancer. The consensus opinion of the 17 independent scientists
who signed the report was that exposure to radiation from medical x-rays
and nuclear medicine is directly linked to cancer.
- The report, the seventh in the Biological Effects of
Ionizing Radiation series, or BEIR VII, studied the health effects of exposure
to low levels of ionizing radiation, the kind received by thousands of
Americans every day in x-rays, mammograms, computed tomography (CT) scans,
and other procedures of nuclear medicine.
- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private,
nonprofit institution created in 1863 to provide science and technology
advice to the government.
- Medical x-rays and nuclear medicine account for nearly
80 percent of the man-made radiation exposure in the United States, according
to BEIR VII, which focused on the health effects of radiation from medical
- The study concluded: "There is a linear dose-response
relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development
of radiation-induced solid cancers in humans."
- Solid cancers are defined as cellular growths in organs
such as the breast or prostrate, as opposed to leukemia, a cancer of the
- "The scientific research base shows that there is
no threshold of exposure below which low levels of ionizing radiation can
be demonstrated to be harmless or beneficial," Richard R. Monson,
chairman of the BEIR committee, said. "The health risks," he
said, "particularly the development of solid cancers in organs, rise
proportionally with exposure."
- Asked why this story has received so little attention
in the media, Marion Fulk, a retired staff scientist from the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory, said: "I don't think the media understands
the importance of this. And some of the TV stations are owned by companies
that are invested in the nuclear industry."
- Fulk, who has survived skin cancer, said that as a result
of tritium pollution from the national lab, children born in Livermore
are 6 times more likely to have skin cancer than other children.
- BEIR scientist William C. Dewey, Emeritus Professor of
Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, told
AFP that 80 percent of the funding came from government agencies that did
not see the report until it was completed.
- "We had a meeting with the sponsors when it was
finished," Dewey said. Asked if the Dept. of Defense accepted the
report's conclusions, Dewey said, "As far as I know they've accepted
- "This is the exactly the kind of independent scientific
report that needs to be done with depleted uranium," Dewey said.
- To determine the degree of damage caused by the larger
alpha particles, like those emitted by DU inside the human body, the absorbed
dose is multiplied by a factor of 20. Inhaled DU is extremely harmful because
the source of radiation is internal.
- Furthermore, the DU particle continues to emit alpha
particles over a very short distance, about 50 microns, the distance of
about two human cells. The critical target for ionizing radiation is the
- "The alpha does a tremendous amount of damage in
a very short track," Fulk said. "It breaks more bonds and causes
more damage in a local area."
- The BEIR report confirms the findings of John W. Gofman,
the first director of the Biomedical Research Division at the Livermore
- In the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission asked
Gofman to evaluate the health effects of all types of nuclear activities.
By 1969, Gofman had concluded that human exposure to IR was much more serious
than previously recognized. The AEC, however, was not pleased and by 1973
his laboratory research on chromosomes and cancer was de-funded.
- "Medical radiation is a highly important cause (probably
the principal cause) of cancer mortality in the United States," Gofman
wrote in 1999. "Medical radiation, received at very low and moderate
doses, is an important cause of ischemic heart disease.
- "Ionizing radiation is firmly established by epidemiologic
evidence as a proven cause of almost every major type of human cancer,"
Gofman wrote. "Some of the strongest evidence comes from the study
of medical patients exposed to x-rays."
- X-rays and other forms of IR are a proven cause of chromosomal
mutations. The biological damage comes from electrons that are kicked out
of their normal orbits within human cells. "Endowed with biologically
unnatural energy," Gofman wrote, these wild electrons damage chromosomal
DNA and create various species of free radicals.
- Free radicals are made and found primarily in the mitochondria,
Fulk said. The resulting dysfunction of the mitochondria causes a host
of neuromuscular diseases, he said, including: Parkinson's, Hodgkin's,
Lou Gehrig's, and Diabetes II.
- About 20 percent of cancers are caused by virus, bacteria,
and parasites, Fulk said. To boost the immune system and give the body
an extra chance to fight back, Fulk recommends a vitamin regimen rich in
"free radical gobblers."
- Gofman wrote that over 50 percent of the deaths from
cancer, and over 60 percent of the deaths from ischemic heart disease,
are x-ray induced. "The proof is so solid that it is accepted by even
the industries and professions which irradiate people."
- "If one can identify a single agent which is a necessary
co-actor in a high fraction of cases of cancer and ischemic heart disease,
one can make real progress in preventing these diseases by reducing exposure
to that cause," Gofman wrote. "The evidence strongly indicates
that medical radiation is such an agent.
- "Since its introduction in 1896, medical radiation
has become a necessary co-actor in most fatal cases of cancer and ischemic
heart disease," Gofman concluded. "Reduction of exposure to medical
radiation can and will reduce mortality rates from both cancer and ischemic
- Gofman's 1995 book Preventing Breast Cancer presents
evidence to support his thesis that medical radiation is a necessary co-actor
in about 75 percent of breast cancer cases.
- THE PENTAGON'S DUPLICITY
- The government agencies who sponsored the BEIR VII report
act as if they had never seen it. The BEIR report was sponsored by the
U.S. departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - agencies
who consistently deny that exposure to DU poses a serious threat to human
- Deployment Quarterly, a magazine produced by the Pentagon,
citing a study done by a major defense contractor, reported last winter
that "chemical and radiological risks to human health from inhaling
depleted uranium aerosols in a perforated vehicle are low."
- "Exposure levels to depleted uranium in military
scenarios are safe," Lt. Col. Mark Melanson, director of the Capstone
Depleted Uranium Program, said. "Troops in, on, or near armored vehicles
when they are struck with DU munitions have the highest potential for intake
and exposure, and we've seen that the intake and doses they receive are
below U.S. peacetime standards for radiation and not high enough to cause
lasting effects on individuals from their heavy metal toxicity."
- The $6 million DU capstone study, however, was prepared
for the U.S. government by Battelle, a major nuclear contractor based in
Columbus, Ohio. Battelle manages several nuclear facilities for the Dept.
of Energy, including the Oak Ridge, Brookhaven, Idaho, and Pacific Northwest
- In 1979, Battelle conducted a study of DU weapons and
found that more than 30 percent of the bulk mass of a DU penetrator was
reduced to nano-sized particles, one-tenth of a micron or smaller, on impact.
These airborne particles remain suspended until inhaled or rained out.
Inside the body, these extremely small particles are able to penetrate
the nucleus of the human cell where they do extreme damage.
- Battelle certainly knows very well how aerosolized DU
works in the body. It has a subsidiary called Ventaira Pharmaceuticals
that develops aerosol devices to deliver medications through the lungs.
- The disclaimer in Battelle's Capstone DU report says
that neither the U.S. government nor Battelle are responsible for the "accuracy,
adequacy, or applicability of the contents" or "any consequences
of any use, misuse, inability to use, or reliance upon the information."
- Neither the Pentagon nor Battelle responded to repeated
inquiries about the Capstone DU report.
- "SCIENTIFIC PROSTITUTES"
- "Scientific prostitutes" is what Fulk calls
scientists who have a vested interest in the nuclear industry and whitewash
the dangers of ionizing radiation. Fulk, who worked with the pioneers of
the nuclear industry since the 1940s, has always opposed open-air testing
of nuclear devices.
- "Cancer is just the tip of the iceberg of the damage
done the biological system caused by ionizing radiation," Fulk said.
"There is no safe x-ray or safe level of IR of any kind."
- "I think the public should be informed so they can
make an informed decision about being exposed," Fulk said. "All
I want is this crap cleaned up because it's a wicked business. What I'm
trying to do is to prevent this from happening in the first place."