I am writing in response to the article on the protests at Aerojet that was published Tuesday. I found one portion of the article particularly concerning. It was the quote from the World Nuclear Association that stated: “Depleted uranium is not classified as a dangerous substance radiologically. ... There are no reputable reports of cancer or other negative health effects from radiation exposure to ingested or inhaled natural or depleted uranium, despite much study.”
This statement is in direct conflict to findings and facts that argue otherwise.
In regard to the statement that DU is not a dangerous substance, keep in mind DU is “pyrophoric,” which means that it is easily and highly flammable, creating a radiological fire storm and causing massive explosions, combustion upon impact and radioactive fallout that lasts for millions of years.
These small nanoparticles are easily breathed into the lungs and from there directly enter the blood stream. Via the bloodstream they travel into the arteries, veins, tissues, heart, brain, liver, kidneys, bone, teeth, eyes and throughout the body. (See VA Physicians Guidance, Vision 11 and Department of Defense Col. J. Wakayama, 1992, briefing based on DU records)
Diseases that result from malformed proteins include cystic fibrosis, diabetes and cancer. Malformed proteins are also thought to be responsible for many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Bertell, 2006)
Birth defects and early childhood illnesses can result if an expecting mother is exposed to depleted uranium. Also, if individuals are exposed to DU and have children afterward, there is a higher incident of birth defects among these children.
A recent study has been published from Northern Arizona University that tested both soil and water samples from Jonesborough and states “these results clearly indicate the presence of DU, evidently originating from Aerojet, in water and soil samples” (Ketterer, 2011).
A number of individuals in this community continue to testify to their personal health problems they feel are a result of DU exposure from Aerojet.
Many groups such as Appalachian Peace Education Center and Christian Peacemaker Team, which is comprised of concerned citizens from all around the world, have been working tirelessly to stop the production of depleted uranium at the Aerojet plant in Jonesborough. The production of uranium munitions (with their horrific effects on our planet) is poisoning, not only humanity, but all of creation.
Shadden Brock is a student at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City.