Depleted Uranium, Diabetes, Cancer And You
By ALAN CANTWELL, MD
Recently I received an intriguing email claiming that the rapidly increasing worldwide epidemic of diabetes was caused by depleted uranium (DU). As a medical doctor I never heard of such an idea. Every physician knows that radiation can lead to cancer, but the DU and diabetes connection seemed ludicrous. Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to check it out on the Internet.
The best tool for medical research on the Net is the PubMed website sponsored by the US National Library of Medicine. I typed in the keywords: depleted uranium and diabetes. No citations to scientific papers in the medical journals appeared on my computer screen, which further assured me there was no scientific connection. Even when I used key words – depleted uranium and human disease – only a mere 16 papers were cited on the subject from 1994 to 2005; and only half these papers addressed the medical problems of soldiers exposed to DU in the Gulf War.
What was revealed is that DU accumulates in lymph nodes, brain, testicles, and other organs, and the short term and long term effects of DU were not known. There was a definite increase of birth defects in the offspring of persons exposed to DU; and Gulf War vets who inhaled DU were still excreting abnormal amounts of uranium in the urine 10 years later.
Why was there so little written about DU and its effects on the human body? Having written extensively on the man-made epidemic of AIDS and its cover-up for two decades, I was not surprised. I strongly suspected research into the health effects of DU on Gulf War veterans was “politically incorrect.” On the other hand, a quick Google Internet search of – “side effects” + “depleted uranium” – referred me to 71,000 English pages on the web. When I added the key word “diabetes” there were 22,000 pages.
I also discovered that articles about the health dangers of DU rarely, if ever, appear in the major media. In a January 2001 press release FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) accused the media of “depleted coverage of depleted uranium weapons.” Nevertheless, a great deal of information on DU can be found on the Internet.
DU was first used by the US in the 1991 Gulf War, then in the Balkans in the late 1990s, in Kosovo in 2000, in the war against Afghanistan, in Iraq in 2003, and also by the Israelis in the 2006 war with Lebanon. Needless to say, US military and government officials totally deny any health danger from DU. A reassuring New York Times article of 9 January 2001 entitled “1999 U.S. document warned of depleted uranium in Kosovo” by Marlise Simons, noted “while acknowledging the hazards, both the Pentagon and NATO, pointing to medical experts, have denied any links could exist between exposure to depleted uranium and the illness and deaths of veterans.”
DU weapons were developed by the US Navy in 1968, and were first given to Israel by the US in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Since then, the US has tested, manufactured and sold DU weapons systems to 29 countries. Vieques Island, a testing site in Puerto Rico, was repeatedly bombarded with DU in 1999 prior to its use in Kosovo.
DU is a byproduct of the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. As nuclear waste, DU is costly to keep but relatively inexpensive to obtain. Due to their tank armour-piercing capabilities, DU weapons are extremely effective and the reason why the military is so enthralled with them.
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