And the results will be surprising to some that have a political stake in this:
In terms of American armed force veterans being exposed to DU, the study, conducted by the Sandia National Laboratories’ scientist Al Marshall, as reported in the press release, concluded that “the reports of serious health risks from DU exposure are not supported by veteran medical statistics nor supported by his analysis. Only a few U.S. veterans in vehicles accidentally struck by DU munitions are predicted to have inhaled sufficient quantities of DU particulate to incur any significant health risk. For these individuals, DU-related risks include the possibility of temporary kidney damage and about a 1 percent chance of fatal cancer.”
As for the civilian DU-exposed population of Iraq, the study concludes:
— The radiological risk is extremely small for civilians located downwind from DU munitions use. Thus, DU is predicted to have no detectable health effects (including cancers, leukemia, and birth defects) on downwind civilians.
— Monitoring of DU in the environment suggests that DU contamination of food and water supplies has not been significant to date.
— Furthermore, widespread DU contamination in the distant future is unlikely.
— The most significant risk for Iraqi civilians may be for children playing in or near DU-damaged vehicles. The nominal risk of lung cancer for these children is about 0.04%, and the nominal risk of colon cancer is 0.06%. The risk of leukemia and other cancers is insignificant.
— The beta particle emission rate for DU is too low to present a risk of skin burns from direct contact with DU metal. However, a DU fragment in close contact with the skin at the same location for many years (e.g., worn as jewelry) could result in a local skin cancer risk from beta irradiation.
— Gamma radiation from nearby unburied shells, fragments, or particulate is too weak to present a significant radiological risk.
— No adverse kidney effects are predicted for Iraqi civilians exposed to DU.
— To reduce civilian risks to negligible levels, children should be discouraged from playing in or near battle-damaged vehicles.
— To assure that long-term contamination of the environment has not resulted from DU munitions use, continued monitoring of the post-battle zone environment and nearby civilians is suggested.