Cape Cod Rep Patrick's Legislation to Protect Our Soldiers

Legislation to require testing our National Guard Troops for radiation poisoning related to depleted uranium (DU)

Boston -  Representative Matthew Patrickâ??s (D-Falmouth) legislation to require testing our National Guard Troops for radiation poisoning related to depleted uranium (DU) was reported favorably yesterday. The Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs had originally intended to put the bill into study but were convinced to move it forward by testimony at the hearing.

Patrick stated, â??I have been monitoring the advent of depleted uranium (DU) ammunition for quite some time. Some of our National Guard troops may be returning home to resume their lives and not know that they have been contaminated by DU. The department of Defense has not addressed this issue to date and I have filed this legislation to protect and educate the sons and daughters of Massachusetts.â? Patrick continued, â??I am grateful to Chairmen Verga and Brewer for a favorable report.â?

"Some of our National Guard troops may be returning home to resume their lives and not know that they have been contaminated by DU."

Depleted uranium (DU) ammunition is an extremely effective anti-tank weapon because of its ability to pierce very thick armor. It was first used in the Gulf War and is a suspected cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Even though it is the most effective tank weapon ever devised, European countries ban the use of DU by their armed forces because of health and lingering contamination problems.

Before it is fired, its radioactivity is negligible and therefore the Department of Defense has declared it safe to handle by our troops in the field. However, after DU ammo is fired and it burns through armor it creates highly radioactive ash or dust in and around the vehicle. The radioactive dust can be inhaled by anyone down wind or adjacent to the destroyed target and remains in the body for years. Infant children of those who have breathed in the dust are often born with deformities typical of radioactive poisoning.

The ash or dust is dangerous not only to our troops who are ordered to dispose of or repair the vehicles but also to the children and people who play upon or live around the destroyed vehicles. It lingers around the burnt out vehicle site even after the vehicle has been removed.

From the office of Representative Matt Patrick, 617-722-2090 or [email protected].

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