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buffpilot,The disability firuge is wobbly, I admit & should have noted as such in my first post on this subject. I confess to being guilty to a certain amount of apples-to-oranges analysis in this case. Your point regarding the benefits of claiming some level of disability upon discharge is a good one. This is middling-level correlative data.The sheer volume (after only 15 years) is what struck me.My strong suspicion is that the major danger is to people exposed to either vast quantities of the stuff (as I mentioned in the previous post), to environments saturated by vaporized munitions and leaky DU dumps and to civilians and soldiers exposed to considerable quantities of vaporized DU. There's a pretty alarming piece at the VAIW website--and this raises a flag of course. Partisan reviews always do. I suspect it's a little over the top myself. But I think it's worth the reading nonetheless.I rather doubt that contact with unexploded DU rounds or DU shells is terribly dangerous for a healthy adult. It's a hard metal, sheathed & adults are less susceptible to soft tissue contamination then children.I prefer data from the CDC, Red Cross, WHO, etc. for information on observed and likely long-term environmental and health impact on areas and on individuals exposed to DU dust. The folks responsible for the clean-up of the munitions are probably a pretty reliable source, too. They've been dying off and getting sick at a pretty hideous pace since GW 1.Remember, folks, it wasn't so long ago that Agent Orange was considered an A-OK way to defoliate areas enfiladed by the VC in areas situated near US troops. They were neither appraised of the danger nor were they equipped to deal with the threat of the lingering toxins. Maybe the gummint didn't know then. Wouldn't be the first time.People don't think much about second-order effects of things like pesticides and radioactive material, even the people who should know better. I through a halter on my X-rays recently (I had surgery for testicular cancer last year & have been doing the watchful waiting thing) after adding up my Rems for the year and realizing I was approaching the safe limit very fast."The good news is that the seminoma is gone, son. The bad news is...er, well, you seem to be glowing..."This hasn't happened. But the radiologists weren't keeping track nor were they referencing basic information on safe exposure levels. I was.The evidence is pretty clear ( intuitively so, I should think) that inhaling huge quantities of moderately radioactive material is very bad for you. And that it's not a good thing to saturate an environment with the stuff.Hard DU, I don't have a strong opinion on one way or the other to date. Not something I want to be around, but the evidence I've found has not suggested that unexploded DU munitions or armor pose grave risks. Just leaky waste storage sites and vaporized munitions. Kerr Magee's early involvement in the weapons program makes me more suspicious of DU overall due to K-M's notorious track record at the Oklahoma breeder plant in the '60s & '70s. Leaky containment, wretched worker safety awareness, involvement in the Silkwood case (and possibly her murder). This is cause for reasonable doubt.Rule of thumb: Never trust anyone who tries to sell you something, especially if it's the gummint. And NEVER trust anyone who is trying to sell something TO the gummint.

Excellent blog. Looking forward for more posts like this.

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  • Tom Grant is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. You can e-mail him at tgrant@forrester.com, or reach him via Twitter at TomGrantForr. All opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer, Forrester Research.

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