by Robert Holloway
Leuren Moret - An Expert on Depleted Uranium?
There is a great deal of false information on the Internet about depleted uranium. One such retailer of false information is Leuren Moret. Let's take a close look at an instance where Ms. Moret has had ample opportunity to correct false information, at my request, and has failed to do so.
Ms. Moret recently published (August 9, 2005) an article in the Battle Creek Enquirer on depleted uranium. The article was republished online at the following URL:
In the article Ms. Moret makes the following claim and I quote exactly:
"In some studies of soldiers who had normal babies before the war, 67 percent of the post-war babies are born with severe birth defects - missing brains, eyes, organs, legs and arms, and blood diseases."
I have asked Ms. Moret by email to supply the source for her claim but she has not responded. The above claim is similar to other claims that she has made for several years. But reflect on this claim for a minute. If it is true, it is the sort of claim that would have been picked up long ago by the major news organizations and it would have caused a national scancal. The figure of 67 percent is far above the background rate of major birth defects of less than 5 percent. Did Ms. Moret make this claim up out of thin air? I think not. The background of this claim is that in the mid 90s, there was at least one newspaper account of anecdotal claims of excess birth defects in children born to a unit of the Mississippi National Guard.
However, this situation was thoroughly investigated in a scientific study by the Centers for Disease Control. A scientific paper on this study was published in a research journal. An abstract of that study can be found on the website of the CDC. Here is a quote from the CDC website:
>>>>>>>>>>In 1994, CDC collaborated with the Mississippi Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate reports of adverse birth outcomes among members of two Mississippi National Guard Units that served in the Gulf War. This investigation found no increase above expected rates in the total number of birth defects or in the frequency of premature births and low birth-weight babies. The frequency of other health problems, such as respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, and skin diseases among children born to these veterans also did not appear to be elevated.
Penman A, Tarver RS, Currier MM. No evidence of increase in birth defects and health problems among children born to Persian Gulf War veterans in Mississippi. Military Medicine 1996;161:1–6.<<<<<<<<<
I informed Ms. Moret more than a year ago that she was using old and outdated information in regard to her claim about birth defects. She did not respond but continues to use the same misinformation. The fact that she does not respond on this problem calls into question her desire to present truthful information in regard to depleted uranium. If Ms. Moret wishes to respond to my comments, I will place her comments here. How about it Leuren?
Upon further checking on the Internet, I found what may be the source of Leuren Moret's 67 percent figure. Here is a quote from The Nation, of March 7, 1994:
>>>>>>>>>>>>Susie Spear, a health writer for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, reported that among her local unit of the National Guard severe birth defects had affected thirteen of fifteen babies conceived by veterans or their spouses since the end of the war. Since then, a Veterans Administration survey of 251 parents statewide has revealed that 67 percent of their children conceived since the war are afflicted with illnesses rated severe or have birth defects including missing eyes and ears, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers.<<<<<<<<<<<
I should note here that a survey can hardly be described as a study, as Moret claims. And I believe that there is substantial doubt as to the accuracy of the 67 percent figure. It seems that if the survey were really conducted, there is no written record of it now, other than the Internet references quoted by the activists. It is also interesting that Leuren Moret does not give references for this information in her own Internet publications. Seems to me Leuren, that your 67 percent figure is just another urban legend.
The story goes on. Here is something that Michael C. Sullivan reported on the Internet in 2003 on this curious 67 percent figure.
>>>>> One of the more startling statistics still worming through the internet and the British press is the claim that a study of Gulf War veterans showed the 67% had children with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers. [SH]
The same figure showed up in the 1999 BBC story by Kirby: In one unit, 67% of children born to US Gulf veterans had severe illnesses or birth defects." [BBC1] Internet searches revealed that this stat, with a bit more detail, shows up on many peace and environmental activist sites. In a study of 251 Gulf War veterans families in Mississippi, 67 percent of their children were born without eyes, ears or a brain, had fused fingers, blood in infections, respiratory problems or thyroid and other organ malformations. [LM] I wrote to the author and was informed that her source was an article by Laura Flanders in The Nation from 1994. I quote:
"And now the effects of Gulf war Syndrome are carrying over to a new generation. Last December, Susie Spear, a health writer for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, reported that among her local unit of the National Guard severe birth defects had affected thirteen of fifteen babies conceived by veterans or their spouses since the end of the war. Since then, a Veterans Administration survey of 251 parents statewide has revealed that 67 percent of their children conceived since the war afflicted with illnesses rated severe or have birth defects including missing eyes and ears, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers." [LF]
I believe this is the common source of the 67 percent figure. It has now made its way into a book [MD]. I wrote Flanders and asked for the title of the VA survey and where it was published. She replied:
"The '94 article refers to a survey which was part of a study not completed and published by the VA until 1996. My source is the Jackson Ledger reporter, somebody Spear, whom I quote in the piece; she'd been writing about the surveys starting a few months before and appeared on FAIR's radio show to talk about it (a detail that got cut in editing.) Statistics being what they are, the '96 report produced a quite different result from the early research. I haven't read it in its entireity (by this time I was not so closely on the case) but it's title is something like VA Finds NO LINK....to birth defects. [Private e-mail, 4/14/2003]
I went to my campus library and in 30 minutes, with some help from a kind person at the Government Documents Desk, found a 1997 article in Gulf War Review [GWR] entitled Birth Defects Risk Not Increased. I asked Flanders if this was the study. She wrote back: That's the one! [Private e-mail, 4/15/2003] The study itself was published in the New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM]: In conclusion, this report provided substantial evidence that the children of Gulf War veterans do not have an increased risk of birth defects.
What can we conclude? Hearsay is valid news. This is why we should not try people in the press. It is also why we should not do science in the media either, and yet there is no "science court" to defer to. One just has to dig. I do not fault Flanders so much for reporting what she was hearing. But that so many others would repeat this story without checking up on the source is shear laziness.<<<<<<<<<
---- Michael C. Sullivan
But Ms. Moret is not the only activist to resort to questionable tactics in their activism. Read below how Doug Rokke provides mistaken information on depleted uranium.
Military Spokesman Contradicts Fatalities Claim by Doug Rokke
The gist of the email is that Doug Rokke's claims about the health effects in members of his gulf war clean up team are not accurate. I decided to see what I could find on the Internet about those claims before posting this government response. The most common claim, attributed to Doug Rokke, is that 30 members of his "100 member team" have died, with the implication being that the death was from depleted uranium. Here is a typical quote where the information seems to come from Doug Rokke. This article is by Larry Johnson in the Seattle Post - Intelligencer but it is certainly not the only one as there appear to be dozens of similar texts on the Internet:
"Rokke and his primary team of about 100 performed their cleanup task without any specialized training or protective gear. Today, Rokke said, at least 30 members of the team are dead, and most of the others -- including Rokke -- have serious health problems".
-- Doug Rokke as quoted by Larry Johnson in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The following information from the military "Special Assistant on Deployment Health" paints a quite different picture. Unless Rokke can come up with the names of most of the 30 who he alleges have died, I will have to believe the government information, rather than Rokke's claim. Rokke seems to have exaggerated both his role and the number of people who have died since the cleanup. Here is the email from the official government source:
>>>>We can offer some accurate information to correct the record. Rokke is a private citizen and does not represent the Department of Defense. Following the ground war, Rokke was attached for duty to assist technical experts in the recovery and decontamination of radioactive material and equipment. The team of approximately 10 people was led, not by Rokke, but by a civilian from the Army Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM). Rokke's primary role was to facilitate the recovery operations by ensuring the team had the proper support. Over the past years, Doug Rokke has reported varying numbers of ill or dead members of "his team." These claims have been researched and are unsubstantiated.
In 1998, our office compiled a list of 29 names of people Rokke reported to be on "his team." Staff members were able to interview 22 of them. Approximately 15 of the 29 people Doug Rokke had identified as being on "his team" actually worked on DU-contaminated vehicles. Two of the 29 had died, however, in interviews with the others, neither of these two veterans was named as having worked with depleted uranium. While we respect Rokke's right to express his opinions, the fact that he presents himself as an expert, does not make it so. His role in the Gulf War and at the Chemical School, as well as the specifics of his educational background, do not qualify him as a depleted uranium expert. These areas fall well outside of his area of expertise and responsibility.<<<<
End of quote.
My comments: It seems that as of 1998, not a single member of the team had died of exposure to uranium, contrary to Rokke's claim. Before posting the above text, I contacted Doug Rokke and asked him to comment on this material. He refused to say anything in support of his earlier claim that 30 people had died from his organization and instead showed an intense desire to change the subject. --
Traprock, Doug Rokke and the Groves Memo - A Misleading and False Claim
Traprock apparently thought they had found a solid expert (Doug Rokke) on the subject of depleted uranium who happened to agree with their view, that it is criminal to use depleted uranium in armed conflicts. Sunny Miller of Traprock accompanied Doug Rokke on a nationwide tour in opposition to depleted uranium. For whatever reason, Ms. Miller did not always give an accurate description of Rokke's credentials, sometimes claiming that he has a Ph.D. in Health Physics, a claim that he did not correct in at least one radio interview. Doug Rokke does have a little experience in health physics, in the military, but does not have a degree in that area. The Traprock Center has recently corrected their written transcript of one interview to accurately show that Rokke has a Ph.D. in education, not Health Physics, as they had at first claimed. Rokke's fairly modest background in the nuclear field can best be shown by his mistake in his writing that can be found at the URL above, on the Traprock website. Doug Rokke, in the text that is posted at the above URL, discusses a 1943 memo written to General Leslie Groves. According to Rokke, the memo is on the subject of uranium. Unfortunately for Rokke's interpretation, the memo is not on the subject of uranium but is rather about fission products. Rokke's text is in brackets, with the text from the 1943 memo in italics:
[A letter sent to General Leslie Groves during 1943 is even more disturbing. In that memorandum dated October 30, 1943, senior scientists assigned to the Manhattan Project suggested that uranium could be used as an air, water, and terrain contaminant. According to the letter sent by the Subcommittee of the S-1 Executive Committee on the "Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon" to General Groves (October 30, 1943) inhalation of uranium would result in "bronchial irritation coming on in a few hours to a few days."]
----- Doug Rokke as quoted on the Traprock web site
The above quote is incorrect and misleading and it is tempting to conclude that it was carefully constructed to be deliberately misleading. I suspect that Doug Rokke constructed this misleading quote more out of ignorance than dishonesty but even so it does not lend confidence in his ability to understand issues related to uranium. Note that the words 'uranium would result in' are not included in the quotation marks. That is because uranium was never mentioned in the memo. Doug Rokke concluded, incorrectly, that the memo was about uranium. In fact it was about fission products, which have quite different characteristics.
What does the 1943 memo actually say if it does not mention uranium? To explain that it is necessary to include more text than quoted by Rokke. Here is the quote in context, also in brackets:
[Particles larger than 1µ[micron]in size are likely to be deposited in nose, trachea or bronchi and then be brought up with mucus on the walls at the rate of 1/2 - 1 cm/min. Particles smaller than 1µ [micron] are more likely to be deposited in the alveoli where they will either remain indefinitely or be absorbed into the lymphatics or blood. The probability of the deposition of dust particles anywhere in the respiratory tract depends upon respiratory rate, particle size, chemical and physical nature, and the concentration in the atmosphere. Hence the probability of f products causing lung damage depends on all of these factors.
While only fragmentary information is available, it is felt that the injury would be manifest as bronchial irritation coming on in from a few hours to a few days, depending on the dose.] End of quote.
The last paragraph includes the quote Rokke used and you can see that uranium is nowhere to be seen. From the preceding paragraph it is obvious that the material is "f products" which means fission products. In another part of the letter, f products are plainly described as fission products. As for Doug Rokke's qualifications and experience, I question his competence in nuclear science because most professionals would not have made the mistake of concluding that uranium was the subject of this memo. The characteristics of fission products, as described in the letter, are so different from the characteristics of uranium that only an amateur would make the mistake that Rokke made. From that and other comments that he has made, it seems clear to me that Rokke's expertise in regard to depleted uranium is far less than he claims and far less than what is claimed for him by the "movement".
I believe that some impartial observers might conclude that Rokke dishonestly constructed the quote as it is given on the Traprock web site. But whether it was from dishonesty or stupidity, the quote is a false one and as of February 21, 2004 it still appears on the Traprock website. The fact that I pointed this out to Sunny Miller (Traprock Director) weeks ago and nothing has been done, suggests to me that Traprock is not greatly interested in correcting false information if it happens to support their viewpoints.
This particular mistake is not insignificant, because if it were accurate, it would be damning evidence against those who use depleted uranium. This particular falsehood has been spread far and wide on the Internet, and it can be found on half a dozen sites. This is an important matter because it will speak volumes about the integrity of activists and Traprock if it is not removed.
The entire 1943 memo to General Groves is given at the link below. Because the characteristics of fission products are quite different from the characteristics of uranium, any competent nuclear scientist would not make the mistake of confusing uranium with fission products. In some of his interviews, Rokke makes the admission that he had never heard of depleted uranium prior to 1991. Again this is the sort of telling comment that shows that Rokke is not the expert that he is claimed to be by the "movement". For some months, Rokke's biographical information was posted on the Traprock website until it was mysteriously removed. Possibly Traprock removed the resume because Rokke's current employment was listed as a substitute teacher, an odd situation for an "expert" in Health Physics.
Those wishing to completely understand all aspects of the 1943 memo to General Leslie Groves, can read the entire memo at the link below. The link below has reproduced the text clearly so that you don't have to read an image of the 1943 letter:
Memo to General Leslie Groves
When the mistaken interpretation of Doug Rokke is understood by the movement, they try to dismiss the memo as being unimportant. But the large number of internet sites that have quoted Rokke's false interpretation indicates that the movement has been greatly influenced by this false information.
September, 2005 - A skeptical analyst recently had the following comments about the Doug Rokke version of the Groves memo:
I have been looking at Mr. Rokke and his claims for depleted uranium for some time. His acceptance by the "peace" community continues to baffle me. His "Groves memo", while it does suffer from the "out of context" flaw, is subject to much more fundamental criticism. The "Memo", as presented by Rokke (hereafter the "Rokke Memo"), is itself a fabrication. If you look carefully at the four pages of the Rokke memo, several things cry out for notice. The pages are oddly numbered - there is one "page 1", and three "page 2" sheets. They are typed with a mix of Pica and Elite typewriters. There is no continuity in paragraph and sub-paragraph numbering among the pages. The grammatical transitions from page to page either extremely strained, or missing altogether. There is no "signature block", a cardinal sin in military correspondence. I was able to verify that the four pages actually come from four separate documents. References for the first two pages comes from "Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments' public meeting, 13-14 June 1994, Tab F. The second two pages are found in "Correspondence ("Top Secret") of the Manhattan Engineer District 1942-1946" National Archives Microfilm Publication M1109, Roll 1. Page one is the only page that is actually part of the original "Groves Memo". The second (and last) page of the actual memo is missing in the Rokke Memo, and shows the actual author of the memo to be K. D. Nichols, Colonel, Corps of Engineers. The first "Page 2" of the Rokke memo is actually the second page of a three-page summary written by the same Colonel Nichols. The first page and the third page of this summary are not included in the Rokke Memo. The document he summarizes is the document actually written by Doctors Conant, Compton and Urey. The second "Page 2" of the Rokke memo is from an seven-page document entitled "Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon". It was part of a package of information used in a then "top-secret" project known as "Operation Peppermint" early in 1944. This document is probably an accurate version of the original paper written by the three scientists above. The final "Page 2" of the Rokke memo is actually page 2 of "Appendix I. Effects of Gamma-Rays on People" authored by a "Dr. R. S. Stone". I hope some of this information is useful to you.
Sincerely, Gary F. Giesecke
If you would like to send an email to Traprock Peace Center objecting to their misleading and false description of the Groves memo, you may reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 26, 2002 Davis, CA
Last night I went to hear Doug Rokke's performance at the Davis Community Church concerning the "poisoning of whole nations by the use of DU munitions by the U.S. military". In his talk Rokke made numerous technical errors concerning uranium toxicology and health physics including saying that a beta dose to the skin of 300 mrem exceeded the standard for whole body exposure. I strongly objected to his misrepresentation of the DU toxicology facts during the comment period. I think my objections fell on closed minds, however, since this was a cultist group of "peace activists" who think disarmament of our nation will lead to peace. Rokke's stated purpose is to get the U.S. to stop using some of our best field weapons that employ DU projectiles.
Rokke's performance was clever and polished. I think he has had professional drama coaching. Not since Helen Caldicott have I heard such masterful manipulation of the audience. He credited himself at every turn with being highly principled while always casting the U.S. military as nefarious and cold-blooded. He claimed he was fired by the government because of his dedication to health and safety.
Much of his talk involved references to toxic chemicals released by our military action in the Gulf War, contaminated food provided by the Saudis, and claimed poisoning of people by DU dust. He said he was a "health physicist" and implied that he had a Ph.D. in physics by reference to being in his "physics lab" while working on his doctorate. Actually, his doctorate is in "Education Methodology", which I got him to admit during the questioning. He is certainly not a qualified health physicist. According to reliable sources, he is currently a substitute teacher in a middle school in Urbana, Illinois, and a director of a children's camp in the summers.
Rokke said that in the Gulf War he was the "Director of the Army Depleted Uranium Project," and that virtually everyone who worked on the project was sick from exposure to DU. The diseases and ailments that he claimed for DU conflict with 50 years of research on DU toxicology and with the findings of the Department Defence who are carefully evaluating military personnel who were exposed to high levels of airborne DU aerosols. See http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/du_ii
Unfortunately, the audience of about 100 people were enthralled with Rokke and angry with me for objecting to his erroneous statements and misrepresentation, but I think it was important to cast some doubt on this charlatans's proclamations.
Prof. Otto G. Raabe, Ph.D. CHP
Center for Health and the Environment
University of California, Davis, CA 95616
For the original text, see the following website: Australian Parliament Website
The following text is the relevent portion from from the Australian website.
Lancelin Defence Training Area HON FRANK HOUGH (Agricultural) [4.44 pm]: On Wednesday night I asked Hon Dee Margetts for an apology for the rubbish she released around Lancelin about Dr Rokke and depleted uranium. Hon Dee Margetts put out a brochure that states - Dr Rokke, a US expert on DEPLETED uranium . . . spoke to a meeting of concerned residents . . It went on to say that - . . . the US was planning much more intensive use of the Lancelin Range. It also says that Dr Rokke was a former head of the Pentagon etc. On the other page it states - Hon Dee Margetts: I did not say he was a former head of the Pentagon. Hon FRANK HOUGH: The brochure states - Dr Rokke was a major in the US Army and former head of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project - Hon Dee Margetts: Right! Thank you! I did not say - Hon FRANK HOUGH: The member should not get so excited. In the brochure it states that Dee Margetts - . . . has expressed her condemnation in the strongest terms . . . It then refers to the recent visit and the sea swap trial. The Greens (WA) have an apparent hatred for the American Navy, farmers, miners and small business. I would like to get to the bottom of it and the matter of the member’s friend, Dr Rokke, the expert. As the honourable member says in the uncorrected proof of Hansard of 13 August - . . . I will first point out that I have sighted Dr Rokke’s citations and can only assume that the member who has just spoken has not. . . . Unfortunately, the United States military has no record of cleaning up its mess . . . In Dr Rokke’s address on depleted uranium in the The San Francisco Times he states - . . . I was the U.S. Army health physicist assigned to the 12th Preventative Medicine AM theatre command staff . . . He goes on about destroying uranium and states - I immediately contacted unit and the theatre medical command staff to recommend medical care for all exposed individuals. Who is Dr Rokke? We find out that Dr Rokke is a schoolteacher. A letter to me from the Consul General of the United States, Oscar De Soto - sounds like the name of a motor car - states - . . . Dr Rokke has made exaggerated and untrue claims during his visit to Australia. Dr Rokke has exaggerated his background. He is not, and never has been “the foremost U.S. military expert on DU,” as he was described in the . . . Canberra Times. He is not a medical doctor. His Ph.D. is in education. The people of Lancelin are very upset about what is going on. The honourable member has raced into Lancelin and the bullpen, thrown in a red rag, and run like buggery. I am left to sort it out with the residents in my home town, who are worried about the depleted uranium etc. Let us go on about Dr Rokke and his boss. Who is his boss? It is Robert Cherry, PhD, certified health physicist, and a retired US Army colonel. What does he say about Dr Rokke? In a letter of his to The Age he states - Dr Rokke apparently misled you on several points as you prepared your article. He was never a US military researcher. He was never a scientific expert on depleted uranium, much less the Pentagon’s senior expert. While I cannot tell you why he was sacked (US Privacy Act), I can tell it was not for his “public views.” His first presented these views only after he lost his job. Scientists are not divided and much pertinent research has been done to show that Rokke’s allegations about the DU’s health effects are false. It could have been Dr Joke - Damaged vehicles were left behind and buried because their recovery was uneconomical, not because they were “too dangerous to move.” He was not recalled to head a “depleted uranium project in Nevada.” He inserted himself, but the US Department of Energy only allowed him there as an observer. In the past he has named friends he has “lost” who are still very much alive and well. Dr Rokke had been saying how sad it was that he had lost friends in Desert Storm, but apparently they are all alive and well! The letter continues - While uranium can cause harm internally, it must exceed a threshold well above natural levels. Rokke and soldiers in the Gulf War never exceeded that threshold except for friendly fire survivors. Those survivors have never shown ill health attributable to uranium still in their bodies. Robert Cherry, Ph.D. Certified Health Physicist. There is a letter from another boss to the editor, which reads - You reporter. . . has just published . . . an article on Doug Rokke, with the highest count of errors per paragraph ever recorded to my knowledge. It is embarrassing to read such tripe knowing Doug Rokke so well and experiencing the ease with which even a cub reporter on a high school paper could trip him up. In a nutshell, not one of his “facts” could be verified if you even bothered a perfunctory check. I was his supervisor at Fort McClellan, AL where he was called to duty to work under me while I was the Director of the Bradley Radiation Laboratories at the U.S. Army Chemical School. It would take too much space to detail the lies he told your reporter, but here is a minuscule sample: he is not a Health Physicist, he was not “put in charge” of anything, he did NOT lose his job from speaking out: that came later, . . . Disappointedly, Ed L. Battle, PhD (in Physics, not education like Dr. Rokke’s), COL, USAF (Ret) I met a Dr Rokke on a genetically modified organism project. They are called charlatans or spin doctors, which is basically what Oscar De Soto has informed us. For the benefit of members who are interested in Lancelin, I inquired about depleted uranium. I received a report from the Department of Mineral and Petroleum Resources, which was signed off by Jenny McGuire, principal chemist for the environmental chemistry section. Three test bores were conducted in Lancelin on 25 July. Tests were conducted for uranium and thorium. Thorium was measured at under 0.001 and uranium at 0.0010. I will summarise the evidence and Hon Jim Scott can question Jenny McGuire, the principal chemist of the environmental chemistry section of the Department of Mineral and Petroleum Resources. Her letter concludes - The waters are unsuitable for drinking purposes due to their high dissolved solids content. The composition of the waters is typical of a borewater and does not show any obvious signs of contamination. That is the water we drink, which is purified as it passes through the system. In the area in which I live the water contains more lime than anything else. I have water filters in my home. The more of that water people drink the more they need because it has a tendency to make them thirsty, but that is certainly not caused by uranium. I do not wear any pyjamas, and when I get up in the night I walk past a large mirror. I do not see myself glow. I can say categorically that I do not glow, but my face glows when Hon Dee Margetts drops such tripe on the people of Lancelin and then does a gigantic runner. Hon Jim Scott: You are in favour of the bombing range, are you? Hon FRANK HOUGH: The bombing range was there long before the town of Lancelin. As Mr De Soto said - . . . let me reiterate that the US military does not use DU munitions in Lancelin. I urge you to share this information with your constituents and other Members of Parliament. If the member had asked at the United States consulate, the situation could have been explained.
by Robert Holloway
A related but not identical effect of radiation is that of inheritable defects. Bear in mind that a birth defect is not necessarily a hereditary effect. The best expert opinion, including a report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Radiation, is that "radiation exposure has never been demonstrated to cause hereditary effects in human populations". One of the largest study populations is that of the survivors of the atomic bombing of Japan. According to the U.N. report, "The absence of observable effects in children of survivors of the atomic bombings in Japan, one of the largest study populations, indicates that moderate acute radiation exposures of even a relatively large human population must have little impact."
It is important to note here that the report does not claim that it is impossible for radiation to produce hereditary effects, but that the frequency of hereditary effects (from radiation) is very low compared to the baseline frequency of hereditary effects from other causes even in the case of a large radiation dose. According to the U.N. report a substantial dose of 1 Gray is likely to produce adverse effects at a frequency of less than one percent of the baseline frequency of these adverse effects. [A one Gray dose is approaching a lethal dose] Another factor that enters into the situation is that when the activists show photos of birth defects, there is normally an absence of information as to the radiation exposure, if any, of the parents. Two unlikely probabilities, multiplied together, immensely reduce the chances that the observed birth defects were caused by depleted uranium. That unlikely situation does not reduce the shrill cries of alarm from the activist groups, however. A three page summary of the United Nations report can be found at the following link:
United Nations Report
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