The Health Effects of Exposure to Uranium and Uranium Weapons Fallout

The element uranium is the basis of and parent of almost all releases of radioactivity to the environment, yet curiously, until it began to be employed as a weapon, it had been quite neglected as a hazardous component of radioactive releases to the environment. It is not measured routinely near nuclear power stations or reprocessing sites. It is treated as if it were natural: which of course it is, but its concentration in these places, and the form it is released in is not.

The intense and increasing interest in the health of the troops who participated in the first Persian Gulf War in Iraq, and later those who served in the Balkans, where uranium weapons were also used, and of course the civilian populations of those areas has resulted in evidence that the genotoxicity of uranium is far greater than the military who used it, and the states which sanctioned this, believed. Despite the increasing evidence of its anomalous propensity for harm, from epidemiology and from laboratory and theory, the ICRP risk model, here as in everywhere else in radiation protection, is used to deny the evidence and to sanction its continued use as a weapon of war. As with the fallout from bomb tests, Chernobyl and the child leukemias near power stations, clear evidence of harm from exposure to uranium is denied on the basis of deductive logic, that the absorbed doses are too low to cause any measurable effect. By 2006, when massive population-based evidence that the exposures to so-called Depleted Uranium, DU were causing harm, and evidence from laboratory studies and theoretical research had also emerged, UNSCEAR, in their 2006 report allowed 11 lines on one page in their 400 page report to the consideration of DU effects.

According to this new study of European Committee on Radiation Risk, by Chris Busby, there is now sufficient evidence to treat uranium aerosols as if they had infinite biological effectiveness since a single nanoparticle, if trapped in a biological replicating system may cause genomic amplification of damage over time. If a disease or condition or genetic heritable effect of any kind is elevated after exposure to uranium, or in those exposed to uranium relative to unexposed controls, causality should not be ruled out whatever the differential dose.

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