ABSTRACT

A number of U.S. veterans of the Operation Desert Storm (ODS) have fragments of depleted uranium (DU) metal containing 0.75% titanium (Ti) embedded in their tissues. Several dozen of these veterans are in a medical surveillance program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to detect any untoward health effects (1). Some had elevated concentrations of uranium in the urine 12 years after wounding. The persistence of these elevated urine concentrations suggested an ongoing mobilization of uranium from the embedded fragments, which resulted in a chronic systemic exposure. This observation indicates that DU fragments in the tissues are not inert foreign bodies and may react differently in the body compared with other embedded shrapnel.