Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2006, 3(2), 129-135; doi:10.3390/ijerph2006030016
Article

The Evolution of Depleted Uranium as an Environmental Risk Factor: Lessons from Other Metals

email
Received: 4 November 2005; Accepted: 31 May 2006 / Published: 30 June 2006
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Depleted uranium (DU) is used in both civilian and military applications. Civilian uses are primarily limited to ballast and counterweights in ships and aircraft with limited risk of environmental release. The very nature of the military use of DU releases DU into the environment. DU released into the environment from military use takes the form of large fragments that are chemically unchanged and dust in the form of oxides. DU dust is nearly insoluble, respirable and shows little mobility in the soil. Exposure to DU occurs primarily from inhalation of dust and possible hand to mouth activity. Toxicity of DU is believed to be primarily chemical in nature with radiological activity being a lesser problem. DU has been shown to have a variety of behavioral and neurological effects in experimental animals. DU has been used the Balkans, Afghanistan, and both Iraq wars and there is a high probability of its use in future conflicts. Further, other nations are developing DU weaponry; some of these nations may use DU with a greater radiological risk than those currently in use. The toxicity of DU has been studied mostly as an issue of the health of military personnel. However, many tons of DU have been left in the former theater of war and indigenous populations continue to be exposed to DU, primarily in the form of dust. Little epidemiological data exists concerning the impact of DU on these groups. It may be possible to extrapolate what the effects of DU may be on indigenous groups by examining the data on similar metals. DU has many similarities to lead in its route of exposure, chemistry, metabolic fate, target organs, and effect of experimental animals. Studies should be conducted on indigenous groups using lead as a model when ascertaining if DU has an adverse effect.
Keywords: Depleted uranium; Lead; Environmental contamination; Military activity
PDF Full-text Download PDF Full-Text [165 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014 00:12 CEST]

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Briner, W.E. The Evolution of Depleted Uranium as an Environmental Risk Factor: Lessons from Other Metals. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2006, 3, 129-135.

AMA Style

Briner WE. The Evolution of Depleted Uranium as an Environmental Risk Factor: Lessons from Other Metals. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2006; 3(2):129-135.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Briner, Wayne E. 2006. "The Evolution of Depleted Uranium as an Environmental Risk Factor: Lessons from Other Metals." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 3, no. 2: 129-135.


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert