"There are too many legitimate medical questions concerning possible adverse health effects on our soldiers in Iraq from the U.S. military's use of depleted uranium," McDermott said. "We owe it to our soldiers to get answers."
Earlier in this Congress, McDermott introduced H.R. 2410. This bill calls for a comprehensive study of health effects from exposure to DU, a study of the environment where DU has been tested in the United States, and mitigation and cleanup of contaminated sites, if studies find DU to be harmful.
The Pentagon routinely states that DU is a safe and effective weapon, and the Republican-controlled Congress refuses to hold a hearing on the issue or McDermott's legislation. However, many veterans of the Gulf Wars believe that exposure to depleted uranium could be a cause of Gulf War Syndrome.
"As a medical doctor, I know the difference between a cursory and a comprehensive study," McDermott said. "We don't have the kind of credible, independent, scientific evidence on which to judge DU harmful or not. U.S. soldiers deserve better than 'trust us,' which is what the Pentagon is saying. They said that before during the Vietnam War when concerns were raised about the use of Agent Orange. Decades later, the Pentagon finally admitted Agent Orange was harmful. I have the same concerns about DU."
McDermott said his amendment differs from his legislation in order to jump parliamentary hurdles to be included in the DoD authorization bill. The amendment Reps. McDermott and Shays submitted calls only for a comprehensive study of health effects on U.S. soldiers.
"I was willing to scale back my DU legislation to fit the narrow requirements of the Rules Committee," McDermott said, "because U.S. soldiers have every right to know if exposure to depleted uranium might harm them now or in the future."
"Our soldiers deserve our thanks, and they deserve our commitment to a comprehensive medical study that will answer scientifically and independently whether DU poses health dangers."