FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 2, 2003
CONTACT: Green Party of the United States
Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party members are calling
for the Bush Administration to take immediate steps to prevent
radioactive depleted uranium used in U.S. weapons from harming U.S.
troops and the people of Iraq.
Despite its known toxicity, the Pentagon uses depleted uranium widely,
in projectiles on ammunition, casings for bombs, shielding on tanks,
counterweights for nose cones and ground-penetrating missiles, fragments
in cluster bombs and in anti-personnel mines, and in airplane wings and
for ballast in ships. With depleted uranium's half-life of 4.5 billion
years, the effects of its military use will last for the rest of time.
"If White House officials and the Pentagon really believe in
supporting our troops or the welfare of the Iraqi people, they'll make
every effort to clean up battlefields and test those who've been exposed
to depleted uranium," said Carol Miller, public health activist and
New Mexico Green delegate to the national party's central committee.
"Medical testing of deployed troops is required under a law that
went into effect in 1998, a law that the Department of Defense announced
it would obey just this past week, under pressure from the National Gulf
War Resource Center and TomPaine.com."
"But even after immediate and comprehensive testing of urine,
blood, fecal matter, hair, and kidney function, and radioactivity
counting, there are no cures for D.U. exposure," Miller added.
"The primary purpose of testing is documentation of exposure for
compensation and for treatment paid for by the military or V.A. if
problems develop in the future."
The Pentagon's recently announced expanded medical examination of troops
does not fulfill the requirement that soldiers be examined before and
after deployment. Greens caution that there may be a correlation between
the use of depleted uranium and the development of Gulf War Syndrome,
although the cause of the syndrome remains a mystery.
"Gulf War Syndrome afflicted about 100,000 of 700,000 Gulf War
veterans, with about 30 percent of that number requiring
hospitalization," said J. Roy Cannon, Delaware Green Party member
and former veteran vocational rehabilitation counselor. "After
medical testing, the Department of Defense must closely monitor those
who are found to have D.U. present in their bodies. The British military
plans to take this precaution -- why not the U.S.?"
Greens also called for the removal of deployed D.U. ordnances from Iraq
before there is an ecological and public health disaster in the region.
"The cost of cleaning up D.U. from Iraq before it contaminates the
soil and water could be funded by the $85 billion authorized for the war
by Congress," said T.E. Smith, a Vietnam War veteran and member of
the D.C. Statehood Green Party. "Iraqi doctors believe that
increased birth defects and cancer rates in Basra were caused by D.U.
after the first Gulf War. D.U. is also being studied as a cause of
health problems in Kosovo."
Greens demand that the U.S. assure that independent investigations by
the U.N. and others into the effects of depleted uranium are
comprehensive and unhindered, unlike in Kosovo, where analysts were only
allowed on select battlefields. Greens also called for the immediate
release of information regarding quantities of the ordnance and where
they were used during the invasion of Iraq.
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