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US Navy Knew Risks of DU in 1984

Papers secured for release by Glen Milner of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, USA, through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the US Navy have long known about the dangers of DU munitions and that special precautions are needed in handling and decontaminating these weapons. This evidence of pre-knowledge is important because it predates usage in the 1991 Gulf War when soldiers were not given safety instructions on using the weapons. It also exposes the continued cover-up of the US military when they argue that DU usage has no health risks and that decontamination after usage is not needed. Page 3 of the document says:

8. Should DU be handled in powdered form [DU munitions create a fine powder when fired due to their pyrophoric nature] or should a DU penetrator oxidize resulting from a penetrator's involvement in an accident such as a fire, then the intake of DU aerosol or ash via inhalation, ingestion or absorption presents an internal radiation hazard.
9. Depending on the solubility of the particular DU compound in body fluids, it may also be toxic, particularly to the kidney.
10. Should an accident occur or DU corrosion be discovered, cleanup and decontamination should be performed only by authorized personnel.
11. Anyone who may have inadvertently come in contact with material that is potentially contaminated with DU should be surveyed for decontamination by authorised personnel as soon as possible, wash clothing that may be contaminated, wash hands, arms, face and any other exposed part of the body with soap and water. Do not eat, drink, smoke or apply cosmetics before being satisfactorily decontaminated.
The full documents can be viewed at:

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003