Gulf Veterans Reject Kidney-Damage Study; HEALTH: Royal Society Experts Argue Only a Few Might Suffer in Depleted Uranium Exposure
CLAIMS that only a "small number" of soldiers and civilians might suffer kidney damage after heavy exposure to depleted uranium were yesterday dismissed as "nonsense" by a veterans' group.
Experts from the Royal Society said the material could be harmful if inhaled or swallowed in contaminated water, but that few people would be affected.
But a spokesman for the National Gulf Veterans and Families' Association rejected this finding, saying there was anecdotal evidence large numbers of soldiers had been harmed and called for all veterans to be investigated.
Depleted uranium, or DU, is the "waste" left over from the process used to produce the fissionable material used in nuclear weapons. It is very heavy, having nearly twice the density of lead - which makes it ideal for "penetrators" in armour-piercing shells, and was used widely in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Britain no longer uses depleted uranium in weapons. There have been fears that dust from shells may pose a radiation hazard or cause heavy metal poisoning.
The Royal Society said most soldiers exposed to normal levels of DU on battlefields would not be at risk. …