Depleted Uranium and Canada's Role

And I really would ask you to make this an  issue in the front / centre and STOP IT NOW AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN !!
                 --  Dr. Rosalie Bertell

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT -[prepared by Janet M. Eaton] of remarks by:
of these weapons.

Dr. Bertell  was one of nine prominent Canadians speaking at:
An Unjust and Illegal WAR: Leading opponents of the War against Yugoslavia speak out: A public meeting held at Convocation Hall
at the University of Toronto May 6 1999.

Dr. Rosalie Bertell is one of the world's leading authorities on health effects of low level radiation.  For a decade she worked for the US National Cancer Institute and for 30 years has been in the forefront of research on the effects of low level radiation on human health.  In 1984 she founded  the  International Institute of Concern for Public Health  in Toronto.

For further background on Dr. Bertell see :
"Dr. Rosalie Bertell - A Great Humanitarian & Scientist"

All the best,
Janet M. Eaton, PhD


Audio Transcript:

I'd like to talk about a little known factor in this war and that is the kind  of ammunition which is being used. It's called Depleted Uranium [DU] but don't let that fool you - it doesn't mean it's harmless. Depleted Uranium is basically radioactive waste. It's the waste from uranium enrichment. When the uranium is taken out of the ground most of it is Uranium 238 but they like the fissioning of 235 which is less than 1 percent of the whole - so when they do uranium enrichment they basically try to increase the proportion of the uranium 235 that fissions and the rest of the uranium, and a lot of it, is considered waste.

For a long time in 70's there was an effort to declare this waste - scrap metal and use it in our refrigerators and stoves and bicycles and automobiles and many of us were out there protesting this and we actually won and they stopped talking about that but very quietly on the side they gave this uranium free of charge to weapons manufacturers.

And what they discovered was its more dense than lead which means it so goes through a tank or an armored car, or a bullet proof vest. It's what's called auto pyrophoric which means it can burst into flame and when it does it becomes an aerosol and also - you know how when you make pottery if you put in a kiln and fire it you get a glass - well that's what happens to uranium when you ignite it in battle.

This was actually used for the first time by the Russians in Afghanistan but on a very small scale. The first time used on a very large scale was in Iraq in Gulf War and it was used extensively by the US and the UK. According to the Pentagon 400,000 American veterans were exposed to this depleted uranium aerosol in the Gulf War.  About 200,000 of these men and women have sought medical care since the war and about 115,000 have been diagnosed as having Gulf War Syndrome. Now one would think in the United States of America given this new weapon and this massive exposure and these sick veterans that they would have tested the veterans for Depleted Uranium.

I was in Washington DC 10 days ago and I found that not one American veteran had been tested for Depleted Uranium in the 9 years since Iraq war. We actually have tested some of the veterans here in Canada and we have found Depleted Uranium in their urine at quite a high level and remember this is 9 years after their exposure which means that the amount that they are now excreting is nothing compared to what the original dose was.

There has been quite a dispute, which some of you may know, since the war is on in  Kosovo whether or not Depleted Uranium ammunition was being used. In a sense this adds to the problem but you should know that every Cruise missile contains Depleted Uranium ballast and when that missile impacts that ballast is again aerosolized into very small particles of uranium glass that can be breathed in and it will stay in body 10 years or  more and it keeps irradiating the tissue around it wherever it is  in the body!!

Canada has been an international leader against land mines but this depleted  uranium is worse  than land mines and it will stay around for thousands of years after the war is over. It is incorporated into the farm land; it can be  picked up  by the vegetables; the schrapnel can be handled by children ; it stays around ; it doesn't disappear; and because it's an aerosol it can travel as much as 50 - 60 km from the point of release.


I think this talk about chemical warfare in Iraq and violation of Human Rights in Serbia is outrageous - because if anyone is waging chemical and radiological warfare and violating human rights it's

In 1996 this issue was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal in Geneva and the Tribunal condemned it as warfare. They actually called Depleted Uranium a  weapon of mass destruction. I think it might be better called a weapon of indiscriminate destruction but they didn't really have a term for it. I say indescriminate because it will by choice affect women and children.  Women have tisses that are more radioactively sensitive like the breast and uterine tissue. Children are closer to the ground; they're  growing; they'll  incorporate more uranium into their bones when they grow and they also have a longer life span so that the cancers  that have a longer latency can be expressed. So it selects out women and children.


Anyway it was condemned by United Nations  Human Rights Commission and they have appointed a rapporteur to prepare a brief for the United Nations. It's not completed yet.

The World Health Organization has  sent a team into Iraq to look at the aftermath of war but they just went in last fall and they expect to spend two years in study.

So I think you can see that the forces for good here are slow compared to the extent at which this is being used and the rapidity with which it is being used not only in Iraq but Bosnia and Kosovo .

So I would call this to your attention- and I would ask you to make this known.

It's largely Canadian uranium that's being used!!

Canada has a policy that its uranium cannot be used in Nuclear Bombs!

That policy does not extend to these DU weapons. So you really have to complain loudly about this !

Canada also sends its uranium down to Paducah, Kentucky to be enriched and it does not ask for the return of the waste. If that waste stays in US for 30 days by US law it becomes US uranium.

And I really would ask you to make this an  issue in the front /centre and STOP IT NOW AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN !!




An Unjust and Illegal WAR: public meeting held at Convocation Hall at
the University of Toronto May 6 1999. Leading opponents of the War
against Yugoslavia speak out:

Ad-Hoc Committee to Stop Canada's Participation in the War on
Yugoslavia  416-922-STOP

Note: A link for downloading the files via FTP is below the speakers

An Unjust and Illegal WAR   May 6 1999
Click on Green "Play" buttons or underlined text to play

         Chair: David Orchard Introduction

         James Bissett: former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia,
         Bulgaria and Albania 1990-92

         Roland Keith: former director of
         Kosovo Polje Field Office of the Kosovo Verification Mission,

         Dr. Rosalie Bertell: leading authority on health effects of
           low level radiation on human health

         David Jacobs: lawyer, and human rights activist

         David Orchard: comments on ad-hoc committee

         Michel Chossudovsky: Professor of economics, University of
           Ottawa, author: The Globalization of Poverty

         Dr. Ursula Franklin: FRSC, Companion of the Order of canada,
         Professor Emeritus University of Toronto

         Marjaleena Repo:  freelance writer, media critic and

         David Orchard: author of The Fight for Canada, farmer, former
         candidate for Progressive Conservative Party leadership

         Question and Answer 40:00 min

See also Depleted Uranium FAQs and Depleted Uranium War Crime Article - must reading

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