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IPPNW Press Release from 18. January 2010

USA are seeking alternatives for Depleted Uranium (DU)

IPPNW demands ban of Depleted Uranium

The United States are seeking alternatives for depleted uranium (DU) ammunition. According to Dave Cullen from the “International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons” (ICBUW), the Maneuver Ammunition Systems – an government body which manages ammunition procurement for the US military  – intends to stop the use of DU in weapons.“This is a first step in the right direction. Depleted uranium was used systematically in both Gulf Wars and is most likely a main cause for the increased numbers of cancer among the Iraqi population”, says IPPNW chair Dr. Angelika Claußen. IPPNW urges the German government to follow the example of Belgium and to stop the production and use of DU.

DU is a by-product of uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants. The U.S. military has been using DU weapons since the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. In the U.S. led Kosovo War against Serbia these bullets were also used.

Since the mid-90s, physicians report a rapid increase of cancer and birth defects in the Iraqi city of Basra. They assume that these defects are a result of damage caused to the environment through the release of poisons – like DU. There has, however, been too little examination of the impact of DU on health and the environment.

The problem is that it has been difficult to find conclusive evidence for a causal relation between the use of DU and illness. However, current scientific reports and publications show that depleted uranium has a clear carcinogenic effect on animals and cells.

The German IPPNW affiliate gives support to an epidemiological study in Basra which was initiated by the Iraqi cancer specialist Dr. Jawad Al-Ali. So far, there have been three meetings of Iraqi physicians and European epidemiologists to look at how to conduct this study.

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Animated Short Film about DU by ICBUW and PaxChristi

click to watch the video in IPPNW's youtube channel