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Bioterrorism with Depleted Uranium

Abstract

This analytical review the researches conducted regarding depleted uranium (DU) exposure and its
likely health impacts on people's health in conflict and battle zones. The studies reviewed are
related to the Operation Desert Storm in Iraq in pre-US bombings and post-US bombings using DU
munition, the Bosnian and Yugoslavian conflict zones and Grecian urban areas. The studies
reviewed have demonstrated different impacts of this chemical biohazard such as kidney damage,
renal failure, cancerous resurgence, leukaemia, lung cancer, uterine and cervix cancer, skin and
blood cancer and birth defects. The studies have highlighted over-exposure and low-exposure to the
dust particles spread with DU ammunition usage and DU blast used for firefighting. The studies
involve both, soldiers as well as relevant civilian populations, with conflicting results of DU, ks
type of DU, p53, and HER-2/neu depending on age groups, level of exposure, duration of exposure
and the concentration of the DU. In some cases, a comparison of the non-exposed population
sample has been made with the exposed population samples collected during different periods,
showing significant fatal impacts in Iraqi, Yugoslavian and Grecian regions. All three regions with
DU bombings have shown qualitative increase in cancerous and birth defects cases in the civilian
population located in the conflict zones. The review of studies highlights this important fact to draw
the conclusions about healthcare outcomes, identifying some gaps for urging further research by
medical communities.

Key words

Uranium, Bioterrorism, Healthcare Outcomes

Introduction

This review of studies has been conducted to show the growing cases of cancer and
other malignancies among soldiers and civilian population, living close to the
conflict zones. It is due to the excessive use of DU munition for armour piercing,
or destruction of the bunkers in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, during the
Yugoslavian conflict and in the Grecian bombings. The examples of the studies
conducted by different researchers have shed light on the health impacts on soldiers
and civilian population such the use of "Silver Bullets" and increased cases of
sickness in Iraq following the Operation Desert Storm. The same is the conclusion
of Jawad al-Ali regarding increase in DU caused cancer cases. However, the
interesting point is comparison of the affected soldiers with the affected population,
difference of malignancies in pre-conflict and post-conflict population and
comparison between the exposed and non-exposed population.

Conclusion

In short, the studies related to DU impacts on health during the Gulf War, NATO
military operations, Bosnian Conflict, and Grecian bombings have reported cancer
cases and impacts on vital organs to the veterans and civilians exposed to severe or
mild DU polluted environment through dust particles. It has also been reported
through different studies that there is a slight difference about DU caused
malignancies in exposed and non-exposed veterans and civilians including
difference based on level of exposure, DU concentration level, age group and
contamination source such as inhalation, ingestion or wound contamination.
However, it seems that still gaps exist in the evaluation for which further research
is required in the affected areas to assess widespread damages caused by DU
munition polluted environment to kidney damage, reversibility and likely threshold
for this impairment. Significant source of information could come from comparison
of population chunks of affected areas with naturally increased uranium
concentration in drinking water and DU increased concentration.

For details, contact mazharenglish@hotmail.com