Press Release on DU in Hawaii (BIP)
Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent
Education & Action
P.O. Box AB Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
PRESS RELEASE July 22, 2008
further contact: Jim Albertini
Waiki`i Ranch "NO DU" Test Claims Unwarranted!
Live-fire halt, comprehensive assessment and clean-up needed!
A July 15, 2008 press release issued by the Waiki`i Ranch Homeowners Association (WRHOA) and headlined "Waiki`i Ranch Dust Samples Show No Depleted Uranium" is receiving a skeptical response from local and international scientific experts. Results of the test, based on a sample taken by Waiki`i Ranch Depleted Uranium Project Manager, David Bigelow, and sent to a laboratory in England for analysis, were reported in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on July 17 and more extensively on July 22, 2008.
The release's one-line heading contains two inaccuracies: it speaks of "samples" in the plural, when in fact there was only one; it claims "No Depleted Uranium", yet goes on to admit that "the amount of DU found in the sample was found to be statistically insignificant."
Regarding the first misleading statement, Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD, MPH, comments: "it is hard to do statistics with a sample of one," referring to the single dustpan sample depicted on the front page of the newspaper's July 22 issue. Dr. Pang, speaking as private citizen, is retired from the Army Medical Corps, is on the Best Doctors of America list 2006-8, and a consultant to the World Health organization (WHO) since 1985. Russell Takata, state radiation chief, is also on record as questioning WRHOA's methodology.
As to the alleged "insignificance" of the DU being reported as 1/100 the level of the naturally occuring uranium found in the sample, Dr.Rosalie Bertell, PhD, reaches a contrary conclusion.She remarks that the lab report "actually says that there IS DU in the sample. There should be zero. It is irrelevant that it is 'not significant.'" Dr. Bertell -- who has been honored by the U.N.as a statisticisn, epidemiologist, and member of the Science Advisory Board, International Joint Commission of the U. S. and Canada -- goes on to say: "What you really want to know is whether or not the uranium found in the sample has been fired. This means electron spectroscopy." Dr. Pang is also skeptical about the term "statiscally insignificant." He claims that the laboratory's reading of 1/100 DU, allowing for a measurement error of 1%, could mean the presence of 2% DU in the sample instead of its "zero" interpretation.
Just as the WRHOA's release attempts to give false comfort, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald 7/22 headline is apt to mislead readers into believing that fears about DU contamination are not based in fact. To label tests a "bust" and conclude that "preliminary results find no health hazard" is simply not supported by fact. Closer to the truth is that we have been told little or nothing about whatever tests may have been conducted by the state or federal governments. Mr Takata refers to "preliminary reviews of about 90% of test results" but gives no data. What about the other 10%? The Army allegedly tested 800 dust samples, but these results have yet to be made available to the state or the public. All of this adds up to sweeping claims of safety, while providing no hard data to back them up. This has been a repeated pattern over the past several years: claims but no data.
Given the wide range of weapons in the U.S. arsenal that contain DU, and the extensive military live-fire training at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), and other military ranges in Hawaii, Jim Albertini of Malu 'Aina says it is reasonable to believe more DU contamination exists in Hawaii than just the Davy Crockett DU weapon contamination from the 1960s currently admitted by the Army. Malu 'Aina has called for action on DU, especially halting all live-fire that could spread military radiation. Malu `Aina has long said that independent, comprehensive, testing is needed. Now the Hawaii County Council by a vote of 8-1 on July 2nd, has joined the effort by passing resolution 639-08 that addresses the issue. The essence of the resolution is below with the complete text following.
The United States Military is hereby requested, with urgency, to address the potential hazards of depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area with the following five-point plan:
1. Ordering a complete halt to B-2 bombing missions and to all live firing exercises and other activities at the Pohakuloa Training Area that create dust until there is an assessment and clean up of the depleted uranium already present; 2. Establishing a permanent, high-tech monitoring system with procedures to ensure air quality control; 3. Establishing a citizen monitoring system to work closely with Military experts to assure transparency and community confidence; 4. Hosting quarterly meetings to update and inform the public; and 5. Ensuring permanent funds are available for the monitoring program.
The complete text of Resolution 639-08 follows:
RESOLUTION 639-08 URGING THE UNITED STATES MILITARY TO ADDRESS THE HAZARDS OF DEPLETED URANIUM AT THE POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA.
WHEREAS, in the early 1960's the United States Military used the Pohakuloa Training Area for firing a formerly classified weapon, the Davy Crockett recoilless gun, which has created the presence of depleted uranium (DU) in the impact area at the U.S. Army Garrison, Pohakuloa; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization has released several reports and scientific studies concerning the health risks from exposure to depleted uranium; and
WHEREAS, depleted uranium is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal with a half-life of 4.6 billion years; and
WHEREAS, depleted uranium emits radioactive alpha particles that can cause cancer when inhaled or ingested and also cause kidney and lung damage; and
WHEREAS, there is a public health need to ensure the safe storage, disposal, and clean-up of munitions and other products or materials containing depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area to protect all residents of Hawai'i Island; and
WHEREAS, the United States Military is hereby requested, with urgency, to address the potential hazards of depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area with the following five-point plan:
1. Ordering a complete halt to B-2 bombing missions and to all live firing exercises and other activities at the Pohakuloa Training Area that create dust until there is an assessment and clean up of the depleted uranium already present; 2. Establishing a permanent, high-tech monitoring system with procedures to ensure air quality control; 3. Establishing a citizen monitoring system to work closely with Military experts to assure transparency and community confidence; 4. Hosting quarterly meetings to update and inform the public; and 5. Ensuring permanent funds are available for the monitoring program; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI'I that the U.S. Military will incorporate the five-point plan to address the potential hazards of depleted uranium at the Pohakuloa Training Area. BE IT
FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall forward a copy of this resolution to Colonel Howard Killian, Deputy Region Director, Army Installation Management Command-Pacific; all members of the Hawai'i State Legislature; Senator Daniel K. Inouye; Senator Daniel K. Akaka; Congressman Neil Abercrombie, and Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono.