[ RadSafe ] Canadian Depleted Uranium Study Results Released

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Thu Feb 21 12:13:57 CST 2013

Hi, Helmut.

Dust in the desert is, of course, always a problem and potential health
issue.  How much uranium in the dust contributes to the health risk is
probably impossible to quantify, but assume there is some.  Clearly,
natural uranium (NU) is at least as much of a health risk per mass unit
as DU is (and more, if radioactivity is driving the risk, as NU is more
radioactive per mass unit than DU).  So the introduction of DU into the
environment did not create a new risk, but merely increased it by some

Risk increase from DU is clearly not homogeneous across the entire
country of Iran (or other places DU was actually used).  The risk also
depends on how much of the DU burned, as solid chunks present mostly a
tripping hazard.  The greatest risk from burning DU was experienced by
the crews of the vehicles hit by DU penetrators, but what with the fact
they are in a burning tank, full of ammunition that is about to cook
off, and all sorts of fuels, lubricants, plastic, and other things
burning all around them, and the very real possibility that someone is
going to shoot at them some more when they bail out of their vehicle,
the long-term health risk of DU is something they aspire to worry about.

People poking about in a vehicle that was killed with a DU penetrator
probably can get exposed to some DU dust.  But with the various toxic
chemicals present, the high probability unexploded ordinance, and a lot
of pointy metal, DU probably isn't in the top five health risks.  

People who are not within tens of meters form a vehicle that burnt out
long ago probably are at no more risk than people who live in a similar
desert that has never be been shot up with DU.    

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Helmut Wabnig
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:51 AM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Canadian Depleted Uranium Study Results

On Thu, 21 Feb 2013 06:43:23 -0800, you wrote:

>Thanks for the info.  I downloaded and saved it to my files.  What 
>really angers me about this whole DU thing is the sheer stupidity of 
>it.  Of course DU has a metal toxicity issue.  C-4 also has a toxicity 
>issue.  Its a weapon of war.  DU rounds were designed to kill enemy 
>tanks that are trying to kill you.  The "silver bullet" worked just 
>fine. Yet, a bunch of idiots got its use stopped because it was mildly 
>radioactive and a weapon of war. You don't like war fine; please don't 
>make it harder on the men and women that do have to fight in a war.  
>But enough of my ranting and raving.  Technically, this report shows 
>what most of us already know:  The ionizing radiation associated with 
>DU is not a health hazard.  I also have the U.S. reports on DU which 
>show the same thing.  I wonder if other countries that used or use DU
munitions have similar reports.
>Victor Anderson, CHP

In "green" countries with enough rain and plants covering
any DU dust will be quickly bound and fixed to the soil.
There it adds some value to the already present uranium
content of widespread phosphorous fertilizers the farmers use.

But how is the situation in a desert country?
Will the DU dust be present everywhere near and far
from a battlefield?

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