by Robert Zieve, M.D.
This article is about a toxin that few people know about, a toxin that affects most of us in very quiet and insidious ways. It is called depleted uranium. Learning about and coming to terms with this toxin requires us to learn about it with our heads, keep our hearts open to the human suffering involved, and our wills active to take the needed actions guided by conscience.
Many of us have learned about the central toxins of our times, and they are many.
These include, but are not limited to: mercury and other heavy metals, vaccines, fluoridated water, chemicals, and microwaves and electromagnetic smog. To say nothing of the psychological entanglements and blind loyalties from the families into which we were born.
We are developing ways of coping with or detoxifying from these toxins. We can remove and replace our amalgam fillings and take products that help us eliminate mercury from all the places in our body that can do damage. We can stop giving our children vaccines. We can drink purified water. We can eat food that is not sprayed with chemicals, and buy products not made with toxic chemicals. We can stop using cell phones and cordless phones and microwaves, and purchase a protective canopy to put over our beds so that in sleep we are not affective by nearby cell phone towers.
Yet with depleted uranium it is different.
Most of the toxins listed above have well-documented evidence of their effects upon the human body and upon the environment. And more people are becoming aware of them and taking action either individually or collectively. With uranium, we are playing catchup ball.
Uranium and Depleted Uranium
There is uranium and there is depleted uranium. Understanding the distinction between this two is critical.
Uranium is a weakly radioactive element. It is present naturally in our environment. There is research that exposure to low levels of what is called ionizing radiation from earth emanating uranium helps us.
It is physiological and helps us in repairing our DNA. It can stimulate immune function, help us to have better sleep, and is anti fungal. This area of understanding is called radiation hormesis. In distinction, the primary use that humans make of uranium is in making nuclear bombs and in nuclear reactors.
Uranium itself can have chemical and radioactive effects in the human body. It is a nonessential element, and is naturally present in the land especially in areas that are high in granite rocks.
If we take in enough natural uranium, far beyond the range of low level radiation hormesis, it can damage kidneys and bones. It can substitute for calcium in the bones and thus contribute to developing osteoporosis. It can combine with and bind citrates and carbonates in your body. It can deposit in your liver, spleen, and kidneys.
With enough exposure it has been implicated in the development of diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, and obesity. And of course if there is a meltdown of a nuclear reactor, let alone a nuclear bomb, the results upon all life are catastrophic.
Then there is depleted uranium. What is the difference between the two?
Depleted uranium is the waste product of uranium enrichment in nuclear reactors. It is the residue left in massive quantities when bomb-grade uranium is refined or enriched to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons.
Natural uranium has only 0.7 percent of fissionable uranium that can be used to make nuclear fuel and nuclear bombs. Modern reactors require 3% percent of fissionable U235. So the enrichment process increases the amount of this fissionable U235 from 0.7 percent to 3 percent, and produces depleted uranium as its byproduct.
Why is this significant?
After all, depleted uranium has only 1/3 of the radioactive isotopes of naturally occurring uranium. And it is much less absorbed through the skin. However, it is a biological time bomb when it is inhaled. This is the big problem we have, as you will see.
Tiny uranium oxide particles are inhaled, and then lodge in your lungs, brain, and bone marrow especially, and do damage for years.
Radioactivity: Two Types
Let us look at this area of radioactivity in relationship to depleted uranium. There are two types of radiation: non-ionizing and ionizing. The distinction refers to whether the particular form of radiation carries enough energy to ionize an atom or molecule -- that is, to remove an electron.
Non-ionizing radiation, regardless of the media and business claims, can still do damage, as we have seen in the volume of research in microwave radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, microwave ovens, motion detectors, radar, Wi-Fi, power lines, and cell phone towers.
The industries that make products that use these forms of radiation would have us believe they are harmless. There is ample research and observations now that non-ionizing radiation can be very harmful, even in short periods of exposure. The reader may refer online to such articles as The Radiation Poisoning of America. This, however, is the subject for another article.
Ionizing radiation consists of subatomic particles, like depleted uranium, that have enough energy to detach electrons from atoms or molecules, thus ionizing them. Whether ionization occurs does not depend upon the number of particles in exposure, but rather on the energy of the impinging particles or waves. Examples of ionizing particles are alpha particles, beta particles, and neutrons.
We are increasingly exposed to this ionizing radiation. It comes from radioactive materials, X-ray tubes, particle accelerators, and other applications common to modern allopathic medicine.
Acute exposure can cause significant burns and radiation sickness if the doses are high enough, and cancers and genetic damage at lower doses. In its most extreme, this is the area of killing thousands of people with a nuclear bomb.
Whereas we can limit the sources of ionizing radiation from medical sources if we limit our exposure to such testing on an individual basis, our abilities to limit such exposure becomes more difficult because of the world in which we live.
If there is leaking from a local nuclear facility, we are exposed. If there is nuclear fallout somewhere else in the world, we are exposed. Just as in the area of non-ionizing radiation, ionizing radiation is a social problem and not just a medical issue. Again, the entire area of ionizing radiation is also a subject for another more in-depth discussion.
Why Depleted Uranium?
Why and how would a waste product of nuclear fission in a nuclear reactor become such a worldwide and insidious toxin, one that very few people are even aware of? The answer lies in the ways that science and the military have discovered how depleted uranium can be used.
In the civilian sector, depleted uranium is used in a number of ways. It is in counterweights used in aircraft. Radiation shields used medically have depleted uranium. As do containers for the transport of radioactive materials.
The military sector has also found applications for this byproduct known as depleted uranium. It is used in defensive armor plates. And, it is used to make the most devastating weapons the military uses -- the kinetic energy penetrators in hardened artillery shells that will penetrate tanks and other heavily armored vehicles and buildings. When used, it is like a hot knife that slices through armored tanks.
On impact, depleted uranium ignites. It generates fires and explosions, and death to those in near proximity. In addition, it also generates airborne oxides. This is where the great and long-term damage occurs to millions; 40% of the depleted uranium is left on the battlefield after the battle.
The particles of depleted uranium oxide (DUO) cannot be seen. They are nano particles. Some are smaller than the wavelength of light. To provide perspective, they are 1/10,000 the diameter of a red blood cell. These microsized particles have never existed in the natural environment until now.
The Danger of Depleted Uranium
Depleted uranium kills many people quietly. It is an inhalation time bomb. There is nothing depleted about depleted uranium. Inhaled DU nano particles easily cross the lung/blood barrier in inhalation, and the blood/brain barrier through the nose and into the brain.
The serious and real danger with depleted uranium is in the inhalation of these microparticles of alpha radioactivity.
Such radioactivity is natural at low levels in the environment. It is a highly ionizing form of radiation. And, it is not dangerous unless inhaled. Once inhaled, which DUO universally is, it is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation by far. One gram of DU releases 13,000 alpha particles (a helium nucleus) per second. One alpha particle can cause cancer under the right conditions.
DU inhaled nano particles, less than 10 microns big, stay lodged in tissue for decades, emitting radiation that does great and cumulative damage.
Nobel Prize winner Dr. Herman Muller has described the tiny genetic mutations that are passed on to offspring through family lines after exposure. This has great relevance not only to our soldiers returning from war since 1990, but also to their offspring.
Depleted uranium in your body is like miniature cannons going off for decades inside your body. They fire high-energy particles at 12,000 shots per second. They wreck and damage DNA chains. They induce chemical changes inside cells. And if the particles survive, they can replicate and do even more damage.
To put perspective on DNA damage: It requires 6-10 eV's, or electron volts, to break the DNA or other large molecules in the body. One DU particle inside the body is an emitter of alpha particles. Each alpha particle carries the force of 4.2 million electron volts.
Worldwide and USA
DU is a worldwide toxin. Because it is aerosolized, it can travel great distances from where it is used to penetrate armor in a war. It began to be used in war in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, then in the Gulf War in 1990-91, and continues to be used today.
Gulf War veterans were found to have DU in their clothing, bodies, and semen; 67 percent of them have offspring with birth defects. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and chronic neurological conditions are much more common among them than in the general public. Lauren Moret, eminent scientist, has stated that DU is the main cause of Gulf War Syndrome.
Whereas only 400 soldiers were killed in the war, 11,000 of the 580,000 soldiers are now deceased, and over 325,000 are on permanent disability as of 2000.
In the areas of the world where it has been used most, mainly the Middle East and in the areas in and around Serbia, the soil and air is so contaminated with depleted uranium that millions of Iraqis and others in the area, as well as their offspring, will be developing cancers for decades to come, cancers they otherwise would not have developed.
Even in Great Britain it is reported that the highest levels of depleted uranium that were ever measured in the atmosphere were transported on currents of air from the Middle East and Central Asia during and immediately after the Tora Bora bombing in Afghanistan and the "Shock and Awe" bombing of Iraq in 2003.
In the USA, serious side effects have been observed in a number of areas. These include areas such as Hanford, Washington; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Portsmouth, Ohio, among others. In Colonie, New York near Albany, 23 years after a US arms plant was shut, it has been discovered that 20 percent of the people in the area are contaminated who have lived there for over 10 years.
DU and Human Illness
The adverse effects on human health include the following:
- Lung cancer
- Reactive airway disease
- Neurological abnormalities
- Vision degradation
- Lymphoma and other cancers
- Birth defects in offspring
Children exposed are much more susceptible, having much higher absorption rates as the blood is used to build and nourish bones and soft tissue. The number and type of birth defects in Iraqi children are common and difficult to look at.
Dr. James Howensteine, M.D., has written in April 2006 that we have a lung cancer epidemic from depleted uranium in the US, and that it has just begun. It was reported in 2006 on CNN News American Morning that there are usually 175,000 new cases of lung cancer per year in the US, yet in January and February of 2006 alone there were 172,000 new cases.
In perspective, you can develop lung cancer if you smoke for 30 years, or if you have exposure to depleted uranium in 30 days.
The scientist Leuren Moret, as a result of his research, has stated that the use of depleted uranium in weapons has caused the global diabetes mellitus epidemic. Both mercury and uranium bind on specific biochemical sites of insulin receptors in the human body.
Radiation exposure, whether it be acute in a nuclear bomb or chronic in depleted uranium exposure, generates cascades of free radicals that decimate your body's supply of glutathione and allows free radicals to run rampant through our tissues and organs and do considerable damage.
Unfortunately, the International Atomic Energy Commission continues to state that "...there is no evidence that either natural uranium or depleted uranium is carcinogenic." Yet two-thirds of all breast cancer deaths in the United States occur within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant.
Diagnosis of Depleted Uranium Toxicity
There is no real accurate method of diagnosis of DU poisoning. Hair mineral analysis of uranium does not distinguish between isotopes. And the particles are likely so small as to not be detectable by any conventional means of diagnosis. We cannot wait for an accurate diagnostic test before taking action.
Treatment, Decontamination and Eliminating DU
There are many approaches here. This article will discuss a few.
The general principles and approaches that apply include:
- Ample amounts of necessary minerals such as magnesium, iodine, selenium, zinc, and others
- Saunas, both infrared and far-infrared
- Raising core energy levels with botanical formulas
- Supporting and improving individual capacities to mobilize and eliminate toxins
- Therapeutic Clays to remove positively charged particles
There are many botanicals that help in this process, including Siberian ginseng, Reishi, Panax Ginseng, Aloe Vera, Dandelion root, Red Clover, and many others. Herbal adaptogenic formulas normalize, are nontoxic, and are nonspecifically supportive.
Other supplements that may be of help include:
- Vitamin D in adequate amounts to protect bone strength
- Thiol supplements such as cysteine and ALA to help improve detoxification pathways
- L-glutamine to repair intestinal damage.
Important are ample quantities of:
- Chlorella, which is not only a heavy metal chelator but is also radioprotective
- Spirulina, which was used at a dose of 5 grams per day for 45 days after Chernobyl Cilantro, which has research demonstrating its effectiveness in protecting bones from lead and uranium contamination
- Other forms of chelation such as EDTA, DMPS, DMSA and others
Readers are advised to become aware of these treatments and to use them with a qualified health care provider who has experience in their application.
As the reader can surmise, there is no clear treatment for poisoning with depleted uranium. Our focus must be on:
- Eliminating exposure
- Correcting damage and mutation of DNA with effective doses of botanicals such as green tea, Japanese Knotweed, curcumin, and others
- Supporting general health and detoxification
- Minimizing or eliminating exposure to other forms of radiation, both ionizing and non-ionizing
- Ingesting foods that strengthen the core energetic systems of the body
Anti-radiation foods include miso soup, spirulina and chlorella, brassica vegetables, beans, sardines and anchovies if not contaminated, olives and olive oil, avocado, and grass-fed animal meat.
More specifically, there are foods to strengthen the three main energetic systems of your body:
- Kidney/Endocrine: eggs, walnuts, black sesame seeds, yams, berries, sea vegetables, adzucki and black beans
- Spleen/Immune Network: nourish with yams, carrots with ginger, wild salmon and halibut, pearled barley and some other grains
- Liver Detoxification Network: dark green leafy bitter vegetables like arugula, collards, kale, spinach, dandelion greens, parsley, radicchio, and others
It is important to also mention that, in spite of the cumulative toxicity to which we are exposed, there is a growing body of insight and experience demonstrating that our illnesses are the manifestation of unresolved inner conflicts.
The German New Medicine work of Hamer, Sabbah, and Renaud (totalbiology.ca), as well as the work of Bert Hellinger, have shown this to be true in thousands of patients with illnesses.
The Value of "Normal"
Our society places a high value on what we come to perceive as normal. This includes vaccinations, drinking milk, having silver fillings and root canals, watching television, using microwaves and cell phones.
It is now considered normal to save a few lives with vaccinations at the price of chronic health conditions for millions. We make some teeth stronger with mercury/silver fillings but at the price of millions with chronic neurological and immune system impairment. We use depleted uranium in battle to make sure we lose fewer soldiers to death, at the price of millions of soldiers and civilians and their offspring being poisoned for generations.
Uranium from depleted uranium is now a worldwide toxin on par with mercury in its devastating effects. It is like a hidden microchip that will do internal damage to millions of human bodies, and of course animals and other life on the planet, for decades.
Radioactive DU may claim more lives than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The environment in Iraq, Serbia, and nearby areas of the Middle East and Central Asia are completely radioactive with DU particles.
What the world requires now is to ban depleted uranium munitions and the use of DU.
In addition, if we are a humanity of conscience, then this requires us to evaluate and treat all exposed, and to find and remove all DU penetrator fragments and contaminated equipment.
Or, we face a progressive poisoning of all life on earth.
It is anything but clear at this time if there is the honesty to face these realities and the will to do what is right. We have the means and the understanding of how to do all of this, and the treatment modalities that can be effective. What is lacking is the will to take the necessary actions outlined here.
Depleted uranium is an epidemic of deception of which very few people are aware. It kills millions quietly.
We are at a critical stage of development as a species and as a civilization. This can be seen clearly in our worldwide economic crisis, environmental changes, medical system meltdown, as well as in the cumulative exposures that include DU, mercury, fluoride, vaccinations, thousands of chemicals, and serious chronic infections like Lyme disease.
The time for denial and piecemeal approaches are over. Integrative Medicine provides the template for the comprehensive approaches that are and will increasingly be necessary to help people heal from the effects of depleted uranium poisoning and the many other cumulative assaults on the human body and all life.
It is in developing a greater clarity in our thinking, and by entering into the sorrow and compassion of the world in our feelings, that we develop the will to do the work that needs to be done.
This we will need to counter the forces of destruction and the fear of annihilation that have grown stronger in the last century, especially since the unleashing of atomic and subatomic forces, and which now increasingly permeate our world militarily, socially, and economically.
We end this article with words from Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth:
"Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare ... but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships.
If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived enemies? ... Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals."
Let us work to increase the frequency and duration of these lucid intervals.
Robert Zieve, M.D. is director of Pine Tree Clinic (www.pinetreeclinic.com) of Prescott, Arizona, and participating physician in the Prescott Natural Medical Center and in EuroMed Clinic in Scottsdale. He is president of the Center for Healthy Medicine (www.healthymedicine.org), a nonprofit organization developing proposals and strategies for a successful transformation of health care in the United States. Dr. Zieve has a weekly radio show called Healthy Medicine, which can be heard Sundays at 1 PM on KJZA in northern Arizona, and on the above two web sites at any time. He is the author of two books, "Healthy Medicine: A Guide to the Emergence of Sensible Comprehensive Care," and "Beyond the Medical Meltdown: Working Together for Sustainable Health Care."