Depleted uranium is the garbage left from producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and energy plants. It is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium.
The U.S. has an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of it, sitting in hazardous waste storage sites across the country. Meaning it is plentiful and cheap as well as highly effective.
[Herbert] Reed says he unknowingly breathed DU dust while living with his unit in Samawah, Iraq. He was med-evaced out in July 2003, nearly unable to walk because of lightning-strike pains from herniated discs in his spine. Then began a strange series of symptoms he'd never experienced in his previously healthy life.
At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C, he ran into a buddy from his unit. And another, and another, and in the tedium of hospital life between doctor visits and the dispensing of meds, they began to talk. "We all had migraines. We all felt sick," Reed says.
"The doctors said, 'It's all in your head.'"
No, it's all in his body....
- A muscle relaxant
- An antidepressant
- A stool softener
- Viagra for sexual dysfunction
- Valium for his nerves
Here are some of his current symptoms:
- His gums bleed.
- Blood in his urine.
- Blood in his stool.
- Bright light hurts his eyes.
- A tumor has been removed from his thyroid.
- Rashes erupt everywhere, itching so badly they seem to live inside his skin.
- Migraines cleave his skull.
- His joints ache, grating like door hinges in need of oil.
Yep, it's all in his head. Only problem, he's not alone.
Reed, Gerard Matthew, Raymond Ramos, Hector Vega, Augustin Matos, Anthony Yonnone, Jerry Ojeda and Anthony Phillip all have depleted uranium in their urine, according to tests done in December 2003, while they bounced for months between Walter Reed and New Jersey's Fort Dix medical center, seeking relief that never came.
The analyses were done in Germany, by a Frankfurt professor who developed a depleted uranium test with Randall Parrish, a professor of isotope geology at the University of Leicester in Britain.
The veterans, using their positive results as evidence, have sued the U.S. Army, claiming officials knew the hazards of depleted uranium, but concealed the risks.
The Department of Defense says depleted uranium is powerful and safe, and not that worrisome. Four of the highest-registering samples from Frankfurt were sent to the VA. Those results were negative, Reed said. "Their test just isn't as sophisticated," he said. "And when we first asked to be tested, they told us there wasn't one. They've lied to us all along."
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