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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
'Uranium poisoning' man sues firm
Tank
DU is used in armour-piercing shells
A former worker at US aerospace firm Honeywell is to sue over claims he was contaminated by depleted uranium (DU) at its Somerset factory.

Richard David, 49, from Seaton, Devon, says he suffers breathing problems, kidney defects and pain in his limbs.

The case, thought to be the first of its kind, could help other aerospace workers and Gulf war veterans.

Mr David has won legal aid for his fight, but the firm says DU was never used at the Yeovil plant.

Mr David worked fitting components for fighter planes and bombers at the Yeovil factory, formerly Normalair-Garrett, between 1985 and 1995.

DEPLETED URANIUM
DU is nuclear fuel that has been "depleted" of most of its radiation
High-density material is used as the tip of armour-piercing shells
The residue has a half-life of 4.5 billion years

He said medical tests had revealed mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes.

DU is believed to be a possible cause of Gulf war syndrome, which has allegedly left many veterans with health problems. The radioactive waste product was used in coalition anti-tank weapons in both Gulf wars.

Many scientists now believe that when DU is inhaled as a fine dust it can cause a range of illnesses including cancer, birth defects and kidney damage.

Mr David, who gave up his job due to ill health in 1995, said the decision to grant him legal aid was a victory.

He said: "It is brilliant to get this funding as I can barely afford to live, let alone take my case to court."

Mr David said he would be represented by barrister Michael Mansfield QC at a High Court hearing in October.

A spokeswoman for Honeywell said the company never used DU at Yeovil.

She declined to make any further comment.




SEE ALSO:
Coalition 'must reveal DU targets'
24 Apr 03  |  Science/Nature
US rejects Iraq DU clean-up
14 Apr 03  |  Science/Nature


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