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Beware of Army plans

Dear Editor:The Army is building a live-fire range to open Aug. 1 near Pueblo, bringing the realization that any live-fire range will include the Army’s popular ordnance, uranium-238 or depleted uranium. DU is utilized in the projectiles of every thing from Tomahawk missiles, jet fighter rockets; tank rounds and rifle bullets.DU is America’s nastiest secret. Slightly radioactive, it is the heaviest of the toxic heavy metals. Slammed into a target it incinerates at 10,000 degrees centigrade, spewing U-238 nano-particles into the environment.These particles are insoluble and easily borne by wind and water. DU does not break down into less toxic molecules over time and is impossible to clean up.The American military’s own studies from the ’40s warn that aerosol uranium-238 exposure under battlefield conditions could lead to cancers of the lung and bone, kidney damage, nonmalignant lung disease, neuro-cognitive disorders, chromosomal damage and birth defects.In a Mississippi study, wives of DU-exposed servicemen became diseased and eventually required hysterectomies. Their children were born missing brains, eyes or appendages. Young children are the most vulnerable to the toxin. This year the United Nations reports that 700 Afghanistan children under 5 die from disease every day. In 1998 the International Red Cross counted 1.5 million Iraqi children dead resulting from the 1991 Desert Storm. There is no reason to think that these deaths will slow down or cease happening because the DU remains present. There is no plan to recognize DU’s toxicity, to stop using DU or to clean it up.Contact your senators and representative at (202) 224-3121.John HoffmannCarbondale


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