March 26, 2008

Along with representatives of the American Friends Service Committee and Peace Action West, Dr. Krasner met yesterday with House Speaker Pelosi’s District Director, Dan Bernal, to provide a public health perspective in advocating for a quick end to the war in Iraq and a halt to the wasteful and dangerous plans to reinvigorate the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

Dr. Krasner focused his comments regarding the war on the public health disaster that Iraq has become: with widespread environmental damage and contamination, including destruction of vital environmental health services, and pollution of the environment.

Regarding “Complex transformation”–the Bush administration’s plan to reinvigorate the U.S. nuclear weapons program, including new warheads and plutonium pit facilities–Dr. Krasner pointed out that beyond putting the international non-proliferation regime in great peril, this program has serious negative implications for public and environmental health.

Fifteen years ago, PSR released a report, Dead Reckoning, which illuminated the excess mortality and increased cancer incidence among workers at nuclear weapons production sites.

Research since then has confirmed and extended these findings, and further shown that releases of radioactive and other toxic materials in the air, soil and groundwater of communities near nuclear weapons research and production sites continue.

A full accounting of the public health and environmental impact of these activities must attend any discussion of new initiatives to develop new weapons.

It is hoped that as change comes to Washington, the cultivation of meaningful dialogue with powerful members of Congress will help move PSR’s mission forward. This meeting was an effort in that process.