Catastrophe - Ill Gulf Vets contaminated partners with DU

HALIFAX (9 February 2001) -- The widow of a Persian Gulf War veteran has asked a legislative committee if it can authenticate an American study that found depleted uranium in the semen of several Gulf war veterans from the United States.

"If in fact this is true. . . . this has gone from a theory to fact," Sue Riordon of Yarmouth said Thursday during a presentation to an all-party committee on veterans affairs in Halifax.

Her husband, Terry Riordon, became severely ill after serving in the Persian Gulf War. He died from his illness in April 1999.

Testing on his bones by an independent laboratory showed substantial levels of depleted uranium.

Some scientists suspect the radioactive metal, used in US ammunition, plays a role in the mysterious illnesses suffered by veterans who served in the Gulf and Balkan conflicts.

At least one leading scientist in the field has conjectured that depleted uranium, present in seminal fluid, can be transmitted to sexual partners of veterans.

Ms. Riordon has suspected for some time that the chronic pain she now suffers is related to depleted uranium poisoning.

If it is transmitted by sexual intercourse, she says the health implications for women and children in the Maritimes are enormous.

"We are in a navy city. . . . Ten years ago most (Gulf war veterans) were sexually functional. . . . We could be only beginning to see the problems," she told the committee.

She gave the committee a document that was given to her anonymously, which makes reference to the American study. The document says the study found detectable levels of depleted uranium in the semen of five out of 22 US veterans with shrapnel wounds.

The committee passed a motion requesting that the provincial Department of Health find out if the US study is indeed true.

An independent laboratory in St. John's, Nfld., employed by the Uranium Medical Project, has already found depleted uranium in urine samples from a number of Gulf war veterans from Nova Scotia, Ms. Riordon said.

Labs employed by the Canadian Forces which use a different testing method than the St. John's lab have not found any depleted uranium in veterans' urine or hair samples.



The issue of burning semen has been voiced with the issue of GWI and this same complaint has been heard in Oak Ridge as well.

DU will express in semen and as well so do fluorides, and there may be some reactive chemical effects linked to burning sensations.

* Halifax Herald Limited reporter

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