A CALL TO ACTION
International Depleted Uranium Study Team (IDUST) is a Non-governmental
Organization (NGO) of international researchers, activists and
scientists with a global strategy to stop the use of Depleted Uranium
U-238 (DU) in military weapons by the year 2010.
The establishment of IDUST represents a timely and urgently important
targeted expansion of alliance-building, education, research and
outreach efforts. IDUST builds on the foundation of knowledge skills
gathered, and work accomplished over the past 15 years by it's team
DU is a highly toxic heavy metal with a radioactive half-life of four
and one-half billion years. DU has accumulated in enormous quantities
since the dawn of the nuclear age. Despite the name "Depleted" Uranium,
DU has more than 1/2 the radioactivity of Natural Uranium, which is pure
Our focus is to increase public awareness of both the problems
associated with DU in weapons and the need to enforce existing
international humanitarian and human rights law that prohibit the use of
DU in military weapons. We have a plan to aid in the elimination of this
highly toxic and radioactive material that is used in military weapons
across the globe.
Our immediate work is recruiting IDUST volunteers and Advisory Board
members to form IDUST Teams particularly in countries where DU is
suspected to be part of the military arsenal or has been contaminated by
DU, included are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bahrain, Bolivia,
Brazil, Bosnia, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Iraq, Iceland, Italy, Japan,
Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Panama,
Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea,
Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and Yugoslavia.
To succeed will require a mass movement across the globe. We need help
in the following areas: Local Organizing, Internet Management,
International Law, Media Relations, Fundraising, Resources, Research,
United Nations, Exchange Programs, Indigenous Lands Studies,
Proliferation Studies, Medical Experts, Scientists to Test and Analyze
Water, Air and Soil Samples.
Please call us, Damacio Lopez, Executive Director at (505) 867-0141
<E-mail IDUST@swcp.com> or Maria Santelli at (505) 247-9694.
DU has become internationally recognized as a health hazard. It is a
suspected environmental contaminant in more than 50 sites across the
U.S. and on battlefields and test sites throughout the world. Affected
communities experience health problems similar to those of U.S. Gulf War
veterans and Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
Since the 1950s weapons containing DU have been tested and developed
near communities across the U.S. One such community is Socorro, New
Mexico where DU open air testing began in 1972 and ended in 1993 after
pressure from a local citizens group called "Save our Mountain."
DU is very appealing in military weapons because of its heavy weight and
pyrophoric qualities which cause it to burn like a cutting torch through
steel when a DU penetrator strikes a hard target. This material which
would otherwise be nuclear waste and cost the Department of Energy
billions of dollars to dispose of is now provided free of charge for
military use and to private industry. It is the pyrophoric quality that
makes this weapon so horrific, the burning of DU creates respirable size
radioactive dust that can have short and long term health effects on the
human body, such as kidney problems, followed by cancers and birth
The U.S. military uses DU in various weapons such as armor-piercing
bullets, shielding on tanks, counter weights and ground penatrators on
missiles, fragments that penetrate armor and anti-personnel mines. NATO
forces have used such weaponry in combat since the Persian Gulf War, and
most recently in Yugoslavia. Yet use of weapons containing DU are
considered illegal under international laws governing weapons of war.
Weapons must meet these four criteria under existing international
humanitarian and human rights law in armed conflict:
1) weapons must be able to be limited in effect to the field of battle
(the territorial limitation);
2) weapons must be limited in effect to the time period of the armed
conflict (the temporal limitation);
3) weapons must not be unduly inhumane (the humanity limitation);
4) weapons must not unduly damage the environment (the environmental
DU in military weapons are inherently illegal under this criteria.
The Pentagon has been selling excess and obsolete stocks of brass
covered shells that include 50-caliber armor-piercing rounds for $1 a
ton to Talon Manufacturing Company. Last year Talon sold more that
100,000 armor-piercing 50 caliber rounds on the civilian market. The
buyers ranged from the militaries of Brazil and Colombia to civilian
weapons dealers in the U.S. Gun dealers boast that the projectile will
go through six inches of steel up to a 45-degree angle at 1,000 yards.
The 50-caliber guns are considered accurate at 2,000 yards and can hit
targets 4 miles away with some effectiveness. Talon even sold 35,000
rounds of the refurbished 50-caliber armor-piercing projectiles back to
the U.S. military. The U.S. military arsenal includes a 50-caliber DU
armor-piercing projectile. IDUST is investigating this report to find
out if these armor-piercing rounds contain DU.
Human populations exposed to DU contamination:
1) People who reside near facilities that process or are involved in the
research, development and testing of DU.
2) Combatants and civilians in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (1990/1991
Gulf War). Bombings continue today with missiles that contain DU.
3) Combatants and civilians in Bosnia (1994/1995 war).
4) Combatants and civilians in Yugoslavia and the surrounding Balkan
region (1999 war).
Some U.S. military doctors claim that human health effects from DU are
not well known, however on October 30, 1943 the U.S. War Department
proposed the "Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon." Two
objectives were recommended at that time, 1) as a terrain contaminating
material, the radioactive product would be spread on the ground and
would affect personnel, 2) as a gas warfare instrument, the material
would be ground into particles of microscopic size to form dust and
smoke and distributed by a ground-fired projectile, land vehicle, or
aerial bombs. In this form it would be inhaled by personnel. This
proposal gave way to decades of secret human radiation experiments.
After the Gulf War, Iraq did extensive health studies of civilians and
soldiers who may have been exposed to DU and found that cancers and
birth defects were ten times higher than the levels experienced before
the Gulf War. Over 250,000 returning Americans Gulf War troops have
reported to veterans hospitals asking for medical help for what has
become known as the Gulf War Syndrome.
Through coalition and alliances with other organizations, IDUST works to
inform, and coordinate community advocacy efforts around the globe to
halt the proliferation and use of weapons containing DU. We demand
health studies and medical care for soldiers and civilians exposed to DU
and the cleanup and remediation of contaminated sites and the total
elimination of DU in military weapons by the year 2010.
IDUST is building a global network of new faces, new information,
relationships with credentialed United Nations (UN) NGOs and groups to
advocate for local, national and international laws, policies and
resolutions that will lead to the total elimination of DU in military
weapons. The past, current and future work of IDUST consists of alliance
building through community organizing strategies, networking activities,
research, education, media outreach and personal contacts.
We are recruiting additional IDUST volunteers and Advisory Board members
to help form IDUST Teams in communities worldwide to demand the
enforcement of international human rights and humanitarian laws
governing weapons of war.
IDUST researches the connection between money in politics and the DU
weapons industry to better understand the political and economic motives
of decision makers. A principle objective of our work is to aid
international bodies that have jurisdiction over weapons of war. IDUST
compliments the efforts of other groups that also seek the elimination
of weapons containing DU.
Our work plan for 2000/2001 includes these four goals:
1) Create local, national and international forums for community
exchanges and education. Formation of IDUST Teams.
2) Research: "Depleted Uranium Industry and Money in Politics,"
"Depleted Uranium on Indigenous Lands," "Global Proliferation of
3) Promote health and environmental studies in domestic and
international communities affected by DU contamination. Help American
and British Gulf War veterans get their medical care.
4) Impact international laws and policies to halt the use of DU in
Tax deductible contributions are appreciated. Send to IDUST, P.O. Box
1688, Bernalillo, New Mexico 87004. USA
IDUST is a project of New Mexico Research, Education, and Enrichment