[ RadSafe ] DU Study; Serious Health Risks Not Found

Maury Siskel maurysis at peoplepc.com
Tue Mar 6 06:16:38 CST 2007

Source: 	Sandia National Laboratories <http://www.sandia.gov>
Date: 	July 24, 2005

	More on: 	
Weapons Technology 
Nuclear Energy 
Physics <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/physics/>, 
Vehicles <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/vehicles/>, 
Biometric <http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/matter_energy/biometric/>, 

  Sandia Completes Depleted Uranium Study; Serious Health Risks Not Found

Science Daily <http://www.sciencedaily.com> — ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- 
Sandia National Laboratories has completed a two-year study of the 
potential health effects associated with accidental exposure to depleted 
uranium (DU) during the 1991 Gulf War.

The study, "An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a 
Gulf War Case Study," performed by Sandia scientist Al Marshall, employs 
analytical capabilities used by Sandia's National Security Studies 
Department and examines health risks associated with uranium handling.

U.S. and British forces used DU in armor-piercing penetrator bullets to 
disable enemy tanks during the Gulf and Balkan wars. DU is a byproduct 
of the process used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear reactors and 
nuclear weapons. During the enrichment process, the fraction of one type 
of uranium (uranium-235) is increased relative to the fraction found in 
natural uranium. As a consequence, the uranium left over after the 
enrichment process (mostly uranium-238) is depleted in uranium-235 and 
is called depleted uranium.

The high density, low cost, and other properties of DU make it an 
attractive choice as an anti-tank weapon. However, on impact, DU 
particulate is dispersed in the surrounding air both within and outside 
the targeted vehicle and suspended particulate may be inhaled or 
ingested. Concerns have been raised that exposure to uranium particulate 
could have serious health problems including leukemia, cancers, and 
neurocognitive effects, as well as birth defects in the progeny of 
exposed veterans and civilians.

Marshall's study concluded that the reports of serious health risks from 
DU exposure are not supported by veteran medical statistics nor 
supported by his analysis. Only a few U.S. veterans in vehicles 
accidentally struck by DU munitions are predicted to have inhaled 
sufficient quantities of DU particulate to incur any significant health 
risk. For these individuals, DU-related risks include the possibility of 
temporary kidney damage and about a 1 percent chance of fatal cancer.

Several earlier studies were carried out by the U.S. Department of 
Defense, by University Professors Fetter (University of Maryland) and 
von Hippel (Princeton), and by an Army sponsored team from Pacific 
Northwest National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The conclusions from the Sandia study are consistent with these earlier 
studies. The Sandia study, however, also includes an analysis of 
potential health effects of DU fragments embedded as shrapnel in the 
bodies of some U.S. veterans. The Sandia study also looked at civilian 
exposures in greater detail, examined the potential risk of DU-induced 
birth defects in the children of exposed individuals, and provided a 
more detailed analysis of the dispersion of DU following impact with a 
number of targeted vehicles.


For a full copy of the report, download the following pdf file from 
: "An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a Gulf War 
Case Study"

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a 
Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National 
Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, 
N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in 
national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic 

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Sandia 
National Laboratories.

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