As opposed to the NYT story, here is one coming out of Reuters that
raises some very serious concerns. Notice that (opposed to the Gina
Kolata's sources) the main source is a physician who has done 4,000
autopsies in the area, not someone who is quoting studies done to
provide cover for a new military weapon.
Sources: Reuters | SPACE.com | AP
Saturday January 13 1:19 PM ET
Hundreds Died of Cancer After DU Bombing -Doctor
By Gordana Filipovic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - A Yugoslav pathologist said on Saturday about 400
Bosnian Serbs from an area bombarded by NATO with depleted uranium
shells in 1994 later died of various forms of cancer.
Doctor Zoran Stankovic, head of the Department of Forensic Medicine of
the Yugoslav Military-Medical Academy in Belgrade, linked the deaths --
which totaled about 10 percent of the community -- to radioactive
Some of the victims had worn flak jackets made from shells with depleted
uranium (DU), he told Reuters in an interview.
``Four hundred people died of various forms of cancer in the past five
years. They were part of a community of some 4,000 Serbs from Hadzici
(near Sarajevo) who moved to Bratunac north-east of Sarajevo,''
``The death pattern was easy to follow in an isolated population,
particularly with an increased occurrence of malignant diseases and
deaths,'' Stankovic, who performed some 4,000 autopsies, said.
Many of the Serbs from Hadzici had worked in a factory repairing tanks
and armored vehicles that was heavily bombed by NATO in 1994. At the
time, DU shells found on the ground were recycled and used to produce
``Some of these Serbs wore the jackets and died,'' Stankovic said.
He said no organized multi-disciplinary study had been launched to
establish links between DU and health hazards. But he said he strongly
felt the link existed.
Doubts Du Is Harmless
He was commenting on reports by experts from some Western countries that
denied any link between radioactive weaponry and cancers after a renewed
DU scare swept many European states whose soldiers serve in Kosovo,
where NATO fired thousands of missiles containing the radioactive
``If it is so harmless as some people say, I would like them to collect
all the remainders of the DU shells, take them to a nice house somewhere
in Brussels, store the shells in the cellar and have their children
playing in the house,'' Stankovic said.
Cases of cancer have been reported among Italian, Belgian, French,
Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese soldiers who served a peacekeepers in
Bosnia and Kosovo.
NATO faces a potential split over the long-lasting health impact of
using the armor-piercing depleted uranium shells which critics blame for
cancer among the troops.
Britain, NATO and the United States insist there is no evidence of a
link between DU weapons and cases of leukemia among Italian soldiers.
But Italy has demanded a probe into the deaths of at least seven of its
soldiers from leukemia after duty in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Stankovic said DU munitions were inflicting physical and thermal damage
on human beings, while exposure to their ionizing radiation was seen as
affecting bone marrow and the reproductive tract and causing congenital
Particles from DU explosions were contaminating the soil and underground
waters, posing threat to plants and animals, he added.
Un Must Investigate Du Hazards
``The Americans have studied effects of the Gulf war on their soldiers.
Their study showed that 76 percent of their descendants were born with
physical anomalies. Some were born with six fingers, some without an arm
or a leg,'' he said.
Stankovic said the United Nations had to organize a study of possible
links between DU weapons and health hazards, as the world organization
was directly responsible for the use of the depleted uranium weapons.
But the study should take time because an illness takes time to develop,
``NATO will have to finance the research. NATO will have to pay for
regular medical screening of the local population. If we want to help
the people, they must be screened every six months. NATO must also send
its experts to collect the leftover DU shells, because we don't need
them,'' Stankovic said.
NATO says it had fired 31,000 shells containing DU during its 1999
three-month bombing of Yugoslavia to halt Belgrade's repression in
Kosovo. Most hit Kosovo, southern Serbia and Montenegro.
The Yugoslav Army has so far reported no cases of cancer among its
members who served in Kosovo during the air strikes. It says screening
of 1,000 soldiers had negative results.
But Stankovic said the 1,000 soldiers represented less than one percent
of some 150,000 troops deployed in Kosovo.
He also said he had received reports of two cases of eyeball cancers.
``These two soldiers had served in the area where thousands of shells
fell. My question to international medical experts is how does the
surface of the eye-ball reacts when exposed to the DU dust and does the
dust causes the cancer.''
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