the “tungstin” bullet

Famous for its camouflage-green branding, the U.S. army is adopting a new nuance of green “the environmental green” to represent its corporation. As they trumpet their enrolling in the environmental consciousness world on their websites, let’s see whether sustainability will only be a concept!

Since the Europeans launched the initiative to “go green”, the choice not to follow the trend is not an option anymore. Now that a criminal liability for environmental offenses is set for who will violate environmental legislation, will the army go green or require from the Congress exemptions?? Believe it or not, the Pentagon already uses its sphere of influence granting those exemptions!

As stated the U.S. Department of Defense’s resume more than 29,000 toxic hot spots are geographically disseminated within the U.S. generating a cleanup bill of $100 to $200 billion, 18 states were declared contaminated sources of drinking water. The development of leukemia and other cancers are ineluctable consequences to toxic chemical exposures at the proximity of military bases.

The USA? spends 3.7% of its GDP on its military. Over a budget equivalent to $439.2 billion for 2007, $152.2 billion were dedicated only on operations and maintenance. In the hierarchy of requests $8.8 billion were allocated in missile defense, $6,1 billion on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, $4,6 billion on F-22 Raptor, $3,7 billion on Future Combat System program, $3.5 billion on DDG 1000 Destroyer…The list stretches…What was the budget dedicated to the environmental impact of the production, use and the maintenance of the arsenal of weaponry? What is the budget allocated to sites that witnessed nuclear exploration? What is the budget given to soldiers (in the Gulf war) that suffered diseases, that developed into cancers?

As an economic activity, the aim of Defense is to sale the latest sophisticated x, y, z fire weapon or new spying plane (new toy) and as every corporation to reduce its cost. That’s where one of the dynamic tungsten alloys appears in the equation.

As the director of the US Army Industry Ecology Center (Is it a cover-up?) Robert Scola marvels at the 24 toxic materials necessary to the production of a lead bullet that will endanger the target (kill), the assailant (gas emissions driving soldiers sick) and the environment (pollution from the ground water), it triggered questioning from the corporation about the life-cycle cost? of such investment. The solution to their problem, the tungsten-tin alloy. That’s no news that the Defense industry uses already tungsten alloys in armaments.

Its properties, heat and corrosion resistant, oxidizes at a low temperatures make it an attractive commodity, but its best advantage is its price, less expensive than the lead but less available in the raw material market also. As small-caliber projectiles tungsten-tin bullets can be melted (low melting point) and therefore be recyclable; The tin can be poured off and repowdered whereas tungsten can be filtered and reused.

With a reduced environmental impact and a lower human toxicity it seems to be as the silver one, the magic bullet!


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