Soldiers fighting in Iraq and who will be sent to fight in Iraq need to
be aware of the dangers of being deployed in an area that is strewn with
radioactive dust due to the extensive use of depleted-uranium (DU) in many U.S.
For background information about DU weapons, see:
- Radioactive Weapons
- Vanity Fair December 2004 p.204
- The latest book about radioactive weapons is: The Trojan Horses of
Nuclear War, World Uranium Conference 2003, Hamburg Oct 16-19, $29
including shipping, NEIS, PO Box 1637, Evanston IL 60204. You can also order
the book from the web site:http://www.uraniumweaponsconference.de
- Depleted Uranium: Metal of Dishonor 2nd Edition
uranium: Recycling death
- The U238 in depleted uranium produces alpha particles, which are of
little medical danger outside the body, but can be very dangerous inside the
body. (DU attaches to dust particles that are breathed into the lungs, from
where they can be transported to many parts of the body.) The nuclear decay
products of U238 also decay, producing beta particles (high-energy electrons)
and gamma rays (high energy photons), both of which are medically dangerous.
Gamma rays are the most penetrating, so are what are measured in a Geiger
Advice for soldiers fighting in the Bush Iraq War:
- Buy a light and inexpensive radiation detector to carry around to
check for radioactivity, especially when entering damaged buildings, around
explosively damaged equipment and in dusty areas. Every group of soldiers out
in the field should have such a device, perhaps operated by a medic. For
purchase of radiation detectors, see
http://www.unitednuclear.com/geigers4sale.htm. One is
needed that detects gamma rays, the most penetrating radiation. The first one
on that web page, the Prospecting Geiger
Counter, is a good one to buy. That web page has an elementary discussion
- Do not get close to damaged Iraqi equipment; they are likely to have
been damaged by DU U.S. weapons. If you are required to get close to such
equipment, wear a high-quality dust mask; for example at Home Depot:
If such items are stored near your living area, ask questions aimed at getting
them removed. If you do not have access to a good mask, use a cloth to breath
through whenever you are in an environment of black dust.
- If you are required to enter an area in which a building has been
damaged or destroyed by U.S. weapons, wear a dust mask or protect your breathed
air in some other way. Do not eat, drink or sleep in such buildings.
- If you are required to enter a dusty area, wear a high-quality dust
mask (see above). Black dust is especially deadly. Keep your mouth closed as
much as possible. Do not eat anything in the dusty area. Be careful drinking so
that you do not ingest dust with the liquid. .Test food and drinking liquid
with a Geiger counter.
- Try to keep your living areas free of dust; use the special
Department of Energy vacuum cleaner for sucking up radioactive dust, if you can
get it. If your clothes become covered with dust, get a new set of clothes if
possible. Washing the clothes does not remove much of the DU dust.
- Wash your hands with non-radioactive water as often as possible,
especially before eating.Test the water with a Geiger counter.
- If you are required to handle depleted-uranium weapons, minimize the
time you are around them.
- If you are required to be inside U.S. tanks, minimize the time you
are in or near them, as they often are shielded with radioactive
- If you install armor on vehicles in which you ride, check with a
Geiger counter to make sure that the armor is
not radioactive. If your vehicles are already armored, check to see if the
armor is radioactive; if it is, minimize the time you are in or near the
- If radioactive shrapnel enters your body and it can be removed
without endangering your life, insist that it be removed. If left there it
could cause long-term health effects due to its radioactivity.
- If possible, have your urine and/or semen tested for radioactivity on
a regular basis. Toxic semen has been a problem for returning veterans from
For more information about the effects of depleted-uranium on humans,
see the Vanity Fair November 2004 article Weapons of Self-Destruction by
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