Following the Gulf War, and more recently the conflicts in Bosnia and Kuwait, concerns were raised about the U.S. military’s use of the depleted uranium (DU) munitions. NATO allies became worried about the possibility of increased cancer rates. Residents and government officials from embattled areas in Kosovo asked the United Nations Environment Programme to study the soil, water and air pollution from spent depleted uranium munitions. Gulf War veterans have sought reasons for the persistence of Gulf War Syndrome.
In order to prevent any further concerns about the safety and security of public health and environmental quality, I will be introducing the Depleted Uranium Munitions Suspension and Study Act of 2001. This legislation will serve the following purposes:
- Suspend the U.S. military’s use of DU munitions, pending a certification from the Secretary of HHS that DU munitions will not a) pose a long term residual threat to the health of US or NATO military personnel and b) will not jeopardize the health of civilian populations in the area of use.
- Suspend the foreign sale and export of DU munitions.
- Initiate a GAO investigation of contamination of DU munitions by plutonium and other transuranics.
- Initiate a study of the health effects of DU munitions on current of former US military personnel who may have been exposed and medical personnel who treated such affected personnel, in addition to a public health assessment of persons thought to have an epidemiological link to DU munitions used at US military installation or facility or DU production facility.
- Initiate an EPA study of the environmental resources at US locations where DU munitions have been used, and require the EPA to develop clean up and mitigation plans for those locations. The DOD is also required to carry out these clean ups in accordance with the provisions of NEPA.
Though our nation may be yet entering another armed conflict, the U.S. should take care not to leave a toxic legacy for either people in a foreign land, nor to our own military personnel. Approximately 300 tons of DU munitions were used in the Gulf War, much of which still sits on the ground of Iraq. Since we really do not know the comprehensive consequences of DU contamination, I urge you to support this legislation, and protect our soldiers and innocent citizens from any unnecessary health threats. If you are interested in joining me as an original cosponsor, or if you would like more information please contact Eric Lausten at 5-1605, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member of Congress