Military will examine depleted uranium tests
WebPosted: Mon Feb 7, 21:46:18, 2000
HALIFAX - Defence Minister Art Eggleton said Monday the military will look closely at medical tests that found disturbing levels of depleted uranium in the body of a Nova Scotia soldier who had served in the Gulf War.
Eggleton said the military is also willing to test any members of the Canadian Forces who fear they may have been exposed to the radioactive material that was used in weapons in the Gulf.
"I think it's very sad, Mr. Riordon's death and the results are something we need to look at and will look at carefully," said Eggleton outside the House of Commons.
But in the past, defence officials have dismissed the health risks of depleted uranium to soldiers during conflicts.
Terry Riordon of Yarmouth, N.S., died last year after a series of illnesses he believed were connected to his time in the Gulf. Riordon was diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome, then post-traumatic stress disorder and finally was labelled a hypochondriac.
But Sue Riordon said her husband's symptoms weren't caused by stress or his imagination. She said even his eyes changed colour.
"They went to a beautiful baby blue. They went to a blue-ish grey and about a year before his death they were almost opaque."
Terry Riordon asked his wife to have his body tested for any mysterious ailments after he died. Tissues from his kidney, liver, brain and bones underwent intricate testing.
CBC News released the results Monday morning which found evidence of depleted uranium still in his body nine years after the war ended.
Dr. Asaph Durakovic, a nuclear medicine specialist in Washington, has conducted tests for depleted uranium in the urine of veterans and analysed the Riordon findings.
"We found in the bone tissue, particularly cancerous bone, that it contained depleted uranium," he said.
Durakovic believes when missiles exploded, radioactive dust was breathed in by veterans. He says Riordon's tests show those radioactive particles never left the body.
Eggleton said the department conducted its own tests on some Canadian
soldiers but found no problem with depleted uranium. But he said the
military will look at the Riordon results seriously and will arrange
tests for any soldier who believes he may be a victim of depleted uranium.