Some of the U.S. Government's Documentation of Harmful Effects of D.U. Weapons

Avoiding or Minimizing Encounters With Aircraft Equipped With Depleted Uranium Balance Weights During Accident Investigations, FAA Advisory Circular 20-123, by M.C. Beard, Dec. 20, 1984:
Still in effect today, this 17-year-old advisory bulletin from the Federal Aeronautics Administration, it puts the lie to industry, Pentagon, UK and NATO denials of health risks associated with DU exposure. The 1984 memo warns FAA crash site investigators that, “if particles are inhaled or ingested, they can be chemically toxic and cause a significant and long-lasting irradiation of internal tissue.”

U.S. Army Mobility Equipment, Research & Development Command, March 7, 1979, states that: “Not only the people in the immediate vicinity (emergency and fire fighting personnel) but also people at distances downwind from the fire are faced with potential over exposure to air borne uranium dust.” [From Freedom of Information Act request response to the National Gulf War Resources Center, 1224 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20005, September 22, 1997, Chris Kornkven.]

U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute, in June 1995 report to Congress, says depleted uranium has the potential to generate “significant medical consequences” it is enters the body. “The radiation dose to critical organs depends upon the amount of time that depleted uranium resides in the organs. When this value is known or estimated, cancer and hereditary risk estimates can be determined.” [As much as 70 percent of a depleted uranium penetrator can be aerosolized - turned into a fine mist of radioactive particles - when it strikes a tank.]

Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) in Bethesda, Maryland, has discovered in animal studies that embedded DU, unlike most metals, dissolves and spreads through the body depositing in organs like the spleen and the brain, and that a pregnant female rat will pass DU along to a developing fetus. (The Nation magazine, May 26, 1997, p. 17-18.)

U.S. Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) reported in July 1990, that depleted uranium is a “low level alpha radiation emitter, which is linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and] chemical toxicity causing kidney damage.” AMCCOM’s radiological task group has said that “long term effects of low doses [of DU] have been implicated in cancer…there is not dose so low that the probability of effect is zero.” (The Nation magazine, May 26, 1997, p. 20.)

Col. Robert G. Claypool of the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Office, in August 16, 1993 letter, says that: “When soldiers inhale or ingest DU dust, they incur a potential increase in cancer risk. The magnitude of that increase can be quantified (in terms of projected days of life lost) if the DU intake is known (or can be estimated) … Expected physiological effects from exposure to DU dust include possible increased risk of cancer (lung or bone) and kidney damage.”

Health Hazards Date, the Materials Safety Data Sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, says this about depleted uranium: “Increased risk of lung carcinoma and chemical toxicity to kidney. Hazardous decomposition products … Decay products of U-238, U-235, and U-234 are radioactive also.”

See also:
CASE NARRATIVE: Depleted Uranium (DU) Exposures, 2nd Edition, July 2, 1998, National Gulf War Resource Center, Inc., Dan Fahey, author, 1224 M St NW, Washington, DC, 20005, (202) 628-2700.

From Dr. Donald P. Geesaman, health physicist, formerly of Lawrence Livermore laboratory:

“Plutonium is a fuel that is toxic beyond human experience. It is demonstrably carcinogenic to animals in microgram quantities. Under a number of conditions plutonium forms aerosols of micron-sized particulate. When lost into uncontrolled air, these particulates can remain suspended for a significant time, and if inhaled their high alpha activity can result in a locally intense tissue exposure. The lung cancer risk associated with these radiologically unique aerosols is unknown to orders of magnitude. Present plutonium standards are certainly irrelevant and probably not conservative. The present permissible air concentrations are about one part per million billion … its insolubility and long half-life make the continuing resuspension of particulate contamination another unresolved concern of serious proportions.”

Canadian researchers have found “unequivocal evidence” of long-term depleted uranium contamination of Persian Gulf veterans. Dr. Hari Sharma at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Patricia Horan at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Malcolm Hooper at the University of Sunderland, say that veterans have been shown to be passing U-238 in urine eight years after the Gulf war. “U.S. forces used depleted uranium in Kosova,” Hooper said, “and that is disturbing.” He says the new studies show a “significant exposure to depleted uranium, exposure which the [British] Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon have always maintained did not happen.” (“Depleted uranium ‘threatens Balkan cancer epidemic,’” BBC News Online, July 30, 1999).”

British research biologist Roger Coghill, interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), has calculated that NATO forces fired more than half a million depleted uranium rounds, 250,000 of which detonated. Coghill estimates that as many as 10,000 extra cancer deaths may result from this use of depleted uranium. He sites Greek and Bulgarian evidence of increased radiation levels in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and northern Greece. (“Depleted uranium ‘threatens Balkan cancer epidemic,’” BBC News Online, July 30, 1999)

NATO and the Pentagon claim that U-238 is only mildly radioactive and poses no special danger. But the BBC reports that British military personnel in Kosovo were warned to stay away from areas affected by depleted uranium. The BBC also disclosed the U.S. Army’s Environmental Policy Institute reported in 1995: “If depleted uranium enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences.” (“Depleted uranium ‘threatens Balkan cancer epidemic,’” BBC News Online, July 30, 1999) The Army’s EPI also said, “The risks associated with depleted uranium are both chemical and radiological.” email: