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The health hazards of depleted uranium munitions: Part II

12 March 2002

This is the second of two reports produced by the Royal Society on the health effects of depleted uranium munitons. Part II deals with the risks from the chemical toxicity of uranium, non-malignant radiation effects from DU intakes, the long-term environmental consequences of the deployment of DU munitions and responses to Part I.

The Part I report, published in May 2001, considered the increased risks of radiation-induced cancer from exposures to DU on the battlefield.

An eight-page summary covering both reports has been produced that covers the key conclusions and recommendations.

The main conclusions of the Part II report are:

  • The risks to the kidney and other organs and tissues from the use of DU in munitions are very low for most soldiers on the battlefield and for those living in the conflict area.
  • In extreme conditions and under worst-case assumptions, soldiers who receive large intakes of DU could suffer adverse effects on the kidney and lung.
  • Environmental contamination will be very variable but in most cases the associated health risks due to DU will be very low. In some worst-case scenarios high local levels of uranium could occur in food or water that could have adverse effects on the kidney.

The appendices of the Part II report refer to technical annexes A to G that are available through Related Documents listed.