Selected Quotes From Government Reports on Depleted Uranium
Assembled by Dan Fahey, Swords to Plowshares
1. Pre-Desert Storm Reports:
"Aerosol DU exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological and toxicological effects."
(Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Kinetic Energy Penetrator Environmental and Health Considerations, July 1990: Vol. 1, 4-5; included as Appendix D in US Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command report Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, July 1990).
"Under combat conditions, the most exposed individuals are probably the ground troops that re-enter a battlefield following the exchange of armor-piercing munitions, either on foot or motorized transports."
(SAIC, July 1990, Vol. 2, 3-4).
"We are simply highlighting the potential for levels of [DU] exposure to military personnel during combat that would be unacceptable during peacetime operations."
(SAIC. July 1990, Vol. 1, 4-5).
"Following combats however, the condition of the baffiefteld, and the long-term health risks to natives and combat veterans may become issues in the acceptitbility of the continued use of DU kinetic energy penetrators for military applications."
(SAIC, July 1990, Vol. 2, 3-4).
Depleted uranium is a "low level alpha radiation emitter which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage."
(SAIC, July 1990, Vol. 1, 2-2).
"Short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long terrn effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer."
(SAIC, July 1990, Vol. 1, 4-12).
"Personnel in or near (less than approximately 50 meters) an armored vehicle at the time these vehicles were struck by depleted uranium munitions could receive significant internal DU exposures (i.e. those in excess of allowable standards)."
(Statement of Col. Eric Daxon, Radiation Protection Staff Officer. US Army Medical Command,
summarizing the results of a December 1989 report from the Ballistic Research Laboratory, Radiological Contamination From Impacted Abrams Heavy Armor, Filszar. el. al.. Col. Daxon's statement was made in a July 19, 1996 letter to Dan Fahey, Swords to Plowshares).
"Our conclusions regarding the health and environmental acceptability of DU penetratois assume both controlled use and the presence of excellent health physics management practices. Combat conditions will lead to the uncontrolled release of DU. Individuals consulted have generally responded to this issue by saying it is irrelevant, or insignificant compared to the other risks of combat. However, environmental issues will arise if DU is used in combat." (SAIC, July 1990. Vol. 1, 4-5).
II. Post-Desert Storm Reports:
"There has been and continues to be a concern regarding the impact of DU on the environment. Therefore, if no one makes a case for the effectiveness of DU on the battlefield, DU rounds may become politically unacceptable and thus, be deleted from the arsenal ... I believe we should keep this sensitive issue at mind when after action reports are written."
(Lt. Col. M.V. Ziehmn. Los Alamos National Laboratory memorandum. March 1, 1991),
"When DU is indicted as a causative agent for Desert Storm illness, the Army must have sufficient data to separate fiction from reality. Without forethought and data, the financial implications of long-term disability payments and health-care costs would be excessive."
(Lt. Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI), Health and Environmental Consequences or Depleted Uranium Use in the US Army: Technical Report, June 1995. P. 4).
"U.S. service personnel also could have been exposed to DU if they inhaled or ingested DU dust particles during incidental contact with vehicles destroyed by DU munitions, or if they lived or worked in areas contaminated with DU dust from accidental munitions fires. Thus, unnecessary exposure of many individuals could have occurred.''
(Presidential Advisory Committee on GuIrWar Veterans' Illnesses (PAC). Final Report, December 1996, p.99
"Army officials believe that DU protective methods can be ignored during battle and other life threatening situations because DU-related health risks are greatly outweighed by the risks of combat." (US General Accounting Office, Operation Desert Storm: Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal With Depleted Uranium Contamination. GAO/NSIAD-93-90. Januarv 1993, p. 4).
"Soldiers may be incidentally exposed to DU from dust and smoke on the battlefield. The Army Surgeon General has determined that it is unlikely that these soldiers will receive a significant internal DU exposure. Medical follow-up is not warranted for soldiers who experience incidental exposure from dust or smoke." (AEPI. June 1995. p.102).
"Since DU weapons are openly available on the world arms market, DU weapons will be used in future conflicts ... The number of DU patients on future battlefields probably will be significantly higher because other countries will use systems containing DU."
(AEPI, June 1995. 119-120).
"DU is a low-level radioactive waste, and, therefore, must be disposed in a licensed repository.'' (AEPI. June 1995. P. 154).
"No international law, treaty, regulation, or custom requires the United States to remediate Persian Gulf War battlefields.'' (AEPI, June 1995. p. 154).
"Depleted uranium is more of a problem than we thought when it was developed. But it was developed according to standards and was thought through very carefully. It turned out, perhaps, to be wrong." (Brent Scowcroft. former National Security Advisor to President Bush, from a British documentary titled "Riding the Storm." which aired on ITN TV. Ch. 4, in the United Kingdom. on January 3, 1996).
To obtain the reports and documents cited above. contact Dan Fahey at (415) 247-8777.