Iraq Vets Speak of DU Poison

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Two Iraq War Veterans, G. Matthew and H. Reed, spoke

Wednesday, June 29, 7:00 PM
Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center
110 Bethune Blvd., Spring Valley, NY (for dir. call 845-425-8910)

Army National Guard Spec. Gerard Matthew with his baby born with a deformed right hand.

In early September 2003, Army National Guard Spec. Gerard Darren Matthew was sent home from Iraq, stricken by a sudden illness.

One side of Matthew's face would swell up each morning. He had constant migraine headaches, blurred vision, blackouts and a burning sensation whenever he urinated.

Shortly after his return, his wife became pregnant. On June 29, 2004, she gave birth to a baby girl who was missing three fingers and most of her right hand.

They have seen photos of Iraqi babies born with deformities that are eerily similar.

Another guardsman from New York, Herbert Reed, told at the U.N. on May 3, 2005, that he has serious physical debilities and suffers memory loss. No one in the military would give him a straight answer about the origin of the illnesses he suffered after returning from Iraq a couple of years ago - body aches, rashes, boils, joint aches and nerve damage.

Matthew believed that his illness and his daughter's deformity were caused by his exposure to depleted uranium (DU), a component used in tank armor and weapon shells. He asked the Army to test his urine for DU, but never got the test results. Finally Matthew and Reed sought help from the New York Daily News to arrange for independent urine testing for DU. They both were tested positive for depleted uranium (DU).

DU is a radioactive, heavy metal denser than lead, which allows it to penetrate armor easily. Additionally, when DU hits a tank's metal armor, the heat of the impact can melt the armor and generate clouds of DU dust which can be inhaled or ingested by soldiers or civilians. The DU particles lodged inside bodies become a nightmare for health hazard.

The U.S. Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute has found that DU produced chromosome (genetic) damage and caused delayed reproductive death (J. Inorg. Biochem. 2002, 91: 246-52 and J. Environ. Radioact. 2003, 64: 247-59). In 2002, the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights declared that DU was a weapon of mass destruction, and its use a breach of international law.

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