AFGHAN TEST GROUP
SHOWS HIGH URANIUM LEVELS
Dr. Asaf Durakovic of the Uranium Medical
Research Center (UMRC) in Washington has said the results of urine tests
from a small sample of Afghan civilians has revealed "astonishing"
levels of uranium, the BBC reported on 22 May. Durakovic said the UMRC
sent a team to Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan in May 2002 to interview
and examine some Afghans and conducted tests on 17 "randomly selected"
individuals. "Without exception, every person donating urine specimens
tested positive for uranium internal contamination," a UMRC report
stated. The average level of uranium in the urine tests was 315.5 nanograms
per liter, while in the United States the maximum acceptable level is
12 nanograms per liter. One teenage Afghan boy's levels tested at 2,031
nanograms per liter. If the UMRC tests in Nangarhar prove to be representative
of the entire Afghan population, "the country faces a severe public
health disaster" that places "every subsequent generation
at risk," according to the report. The UMRC said the tests "indicate
that radioactive, toxic uranium alloys, and hard-target uranium warheads"
were used by U.S.-led antiterrorism forces in Afghanistan. An unidentified
spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department said U.S. forces did not use
depleted uranium in Afghanistan, the BBC reported (for more on the UMRC's
Afghanistan Project, see http://www.umrc.net/projectAfghanistan.asp).
-- Radio Free Europe (http://www.rferl.org/afghan-report/)