LLRC Journal Radioactive Times. Vol.5 No 1

Radioactive Times. Vol.5 No 1

Chromosome Testing Demonstrates Effects of DU

At the international Res Publica conference on DU in Prague in November 2001, Chris Busby met Professor Albrecht Schott, who had undertaken the measurement of chromosome defects in the blood of ten UK Gulf War Veterans [1].

When radiation damages DNA, one result is an increase in the number of chromosomes which suffer breaks and recombine to give anomalous centric ring and dicentric chromosomes. These can be seen and counted using an ordinary light microscope. The method can be used to estimate historic radiation exposure over a long period of time. The results of the chromosome analysis are given in the Table. Also given are results from Chernobyl liquidators [2].

Group Aberrations per 1000 metaphases scored Mean dose over natural background Number of metaphases scored
Gulf veterans 7 <200microGy max 1001
German controls 0.5 0 34791
Chernobyl NPP staff 5.8 300-470mGy 6015
Chernobyl controls 0.0 2mGy 3605
The Gulf Veterans suffered greater chromosome damage than the Chernobyl NPP workers whose film badges recorded doses of 300-470 mGy. This implies errors in hazard models of the order of 100-fold or greater. The DUOB has been asked by Chris Busby to advise the MoD to undertake chromosome tests as part of the DU investigation.

[1] Radiation Protection Dosimetry ol. 103, No. 3, pp. 211219 (2003) Nuclear Technology Publishing Chromosome Aberration Analysis in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Gulf War and Balkans War Veterans: H. Schroder, A. Heimers, R. Frentzel-Beyme, A. Schott and W. Hoffmann

[2] V.A. Schevchenko and G.P Snigiryova (in E.B.Burlakova-ed. Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe for Human Health, Moscow: centre for Russian Environmental Policy, 1996)

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