Arcata asks for ban on depleted uranium

The Times-Standard, Friday, January 17, 2003,1413,127%257E2896%257E1117754,00.html

By James Faulk

ARCATA -- Depleted uranium is a weapon of mass destruction regularly used for the last 10 years by the U.S. government.

Such was one of the claims put forth by the City Council this week as it unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a ban on the controversial material, which many say is radioactive.

The main military use for depleted uranium is to penetrate armor. It is 1.7 times denser than lead, and when munitions made with depleted uranium strike a tank, the round penetrates the armor and metal fragments can scatter inside causing damage, fires and injury.

The substance can also be used for armor and has a half life of around 4.5 billion years.

"Ingestion of inhalation of DU causes short- and long-term adverse health affects closely related to complaints of Gulf War veterans whose ailments are called Gulf War Syndrome," says the resolution, passed Wednesday.

Depleted uranium was used in the Gulf War, Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan, and will likely be used again in any U.S. attack on Iraq.

Posters bearing the images of children reported to be deformed by radiation from depleted uranium were displayed by members of the public.

"It has been reported that residents in Iraq near those 1991 battlefields have shown a 17-fold increase in the rate of deaths from cancer and a five-fold increase in the rate of severe birth defects among Iraqi civilians," it says.

The city asks that its federal and state representatives demand that the president and the Department of Defense ban the use of depleted uranium; destroy all stocks currently on hand; ban the sale of such weapons; provide medical testing for veterans and others suffering from contamination and clean up contamination at battlefields in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq. email: