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We must protect soldiers from radiation

Since 1991, the United States has deployed artillery and tank munitions made from radioactive depleted uranium, exposing U.S. soldiers and civilians to excessive radiation. Depleted uranium is used in projectiles and built into vehicles such as armored tanks.

When a projectile hits its target, it produces a radioactive poison that can be toxic when inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin contact. Most exposure is due to inhalation of dust particles that are so small they are able to pass through the most sophisticated respirators. Even if troops aren't close to the blast, these particles are carried downwind and inhaled by troops and Iraqi civilians.

According to the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute, if depleted uranium enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. A new DU Testing/Care/Registry Bill is now in the State Assembly. It would assist in screening for our New York National Guard soldiers and provide a registry and follow-up.

Our Guard troops have not received the same pay, benefits or armor as regular Army troops while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they're not receiving the care they deserve when they return home. Shouldn't we do what is necessary to protect them?

PAM TRITTO
President, Veterans for Peace
Western New York Chapter 128

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