NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Friday, July 22, 2005

DU Update: Health risk too small to observe increase

An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a Gulf War Case Study

Abstract

The study described in this report used mathematical modeling to estimate health risks from exposure to depleted uranium (DU) during the 1991 Gulf War for both U.S. troops and nearby Iraqi civilians. The analysis found that the risks of DU-induced leukemia or birth defects are far too small to result in an observable increase in these health effects among exposed veterans or Iraqi civilians. Only a few veterans in vehicles accidentally struck by U.S. DU munitions are predicted to have inhaled sufficient quantities of DU particulate to incur any significant health risk (i.e., the possibility of temporary kidneydamage from the chemical toxicity of uranium and about a 1% chance of fatal lung cancer). The health risk to all downwind civilians is predicted to be extremely small. Recommendations for monitoring are made for certain exposed groups. Although the study found fairly large calculational uncertainties, the models developed and used are generally valid. The analysis was also used to assess potential uranium health hazards forworkers in the weapons complex. No illnesses are projected for uranium workers following standard guidelines; nonetheless, some research suggests that more conservative guidelines should be considered .[Emphasis added]

Full Report (here.) Caution, this as a 208 page pdf.

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