A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 7: Depleted Uranium

by Naomi Harley, Ernest Foulkes, Lee H. Hilborne, Arlene Hudson, C. Ross Anthony

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Abstract

Because of the metal’s density and metallurgical properties, depleted uranium (DU) saw widespread use during the Persian Gulf War in improved armor and antiarmor rounds of increased penetrating power. This report examines the scientific literature regarding possible health effects on U.S. troops of exposure to DU. While very little literature directly addresses DU, a wide body of literature deals with the health effects of natural uranium and enriched uranium. DU is toxicologically identical to natural uranium and radiologically more benign because it is less radioactive. No increase in overall deaths has been observed as a result of exposure to natural uranium in several epidemiological studies. The literature review paid close attention to the ongoing study of a group of GulfWar Veterans who received the highest exposure to DU. Those with embedded fragments have elevated urine uranium levels, but researchers report neither adverse renal effects attributable to DU nor any adverse health effects related to DU radiation.

Table of Contents

  • Preface HTML

  • Figures HTML

  • Tables HTML

  • Summary HTML

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments HTML

  • Abbreviations HTML

  • Symbols HTML

  • Chapter One

    Introduction HTML

  • Chapter Two

    Health Effects HTML

  • Chapter Three

    Concluding Remarks and Future Research HTML

  • Appendix A

    Principal Decay Scheme of the Uranium Series HTML

  • Appendix B

    Principal Decay Scheme of the Actinium Series HTML

  • Appendix C

    Resuspension HTML

  • Appendix D

    Single-Particle Lung Dosimetry HTML

  • Appendix E

    Exposure to Radon (222RN) and Its Decay Products HTML

  • Appendix F

    UNSCEAR Tables HTML

  • Appendix G

    Measured Deep Dose Rates for M60A3 and M1 Tanks HTML

  • Glossary HTML

  • References HTML

  • Authors

    About the Authors HTML

This research was sponsored by the RAND National Security Research Division and RAND Health.

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