Chris Busby:  Low Level Radiation


Introducing Chris Busby as guest speaker at our meeting on 21st November I explained that my interest in low-level radiation poisoning began with the mountain of evidence of illnesses and foetal deformities after the 1991 Gulf war.  Official denial of a connection to DU weapons’ use was suspect.  The MoD advises soldiers that DU can damage their health and in 1943 the Manhattan Project had experimented with DU as a ‘terrain contaminant’.  Pentagon response to the evidence was the creation of a PR unit headed by a five-star general to rubbish it.

Chris served on the committee considering the effects of the fall-out from the Chernobyl accident.  But the official report disregarded the dissenting views of the ‘non-establishment’ scientists, so Chris and others wrote the CERRIE Minority Report in which they realistically assessed the hazards of microscopic airborne breathable particles to be many times greater than the ‘establishment’ norm.  ‘Establishment science’ measures exposure to radiation like radiated heat warming the body.  Internal exposure from ingested or inhaled particles is very different and Chris asked us to consider the likely effects of an equivalent power of radiated heat focussed entirely on a few cells.  Clearly the two views are not compatible. 

Experiment has shown that uranium particles have an affinity with DNA.  Foetal deformities caused by radiation poisoning can be passed down several generations removed from the original contamination.  There is difficulty establishing precise causal relationships between low doses of radiation in the environment and illnesses; yet in areas around nuclear generation plants where plutonium and other man-made isotopes are detectable in estuary silts and grassland, there is commionly a marked increased incidence of childhood leukaemia and other illnesses.  Cancers may only appear years after exposure to radiation.  Investigation of complaints of illnesses following the 1991 unanium weapons’ use was so badly delayed and hindered that conclusive evidence of a causal relationship was made almost impossible; yet the illnesses presented are entirely consistent with uranium poisoning and little else.  In view of the likely link it was particularly tragic that the US and UK used uranium weapons so casually, and in considerably increased quantity in urban areas in 2003, leaving dust and bullets around where children play and collect souvenirs.

Chris revealed that the plutonium pollution from the atomic weapons establishment at Aldermaston has spread widely.  Using the new Freedom of Information Act (January 2005) he was able to obtain data showing measurable amounts of plutonium not only in the vicinity of the plant, but as far away as 30 miles from the plant – in filters that had been supposed to act as controls for the filters near the plant!  He also discovered peaks of airborne contamination coinciding with the 2003 Iraq war – without other obvious explanation.

Chris was careful to back up assertions with science.  Fortunately there were scientists in the audience who were able to glean more than the rest of us.  There were anomalies in some of the research results.  Often governments aren’t forthcoming with complete information and detectivfe work is needed to piece the story together.  For example, some urine samples from Iraq showed little evidence of DU but some contamination with natural uranium (NU), yet there isn’t any NU in Iraq!  Chris suspects that NU is being used in some weapons instead of DU.

Was it a crime to use uranium weapons, which are not restricted under international law?