Health effects and biological monitoring results of gulf war veterans exposed to depleted uranium

Melissa A. McDiarmid, Frank J. Hooper, Katherine Squibb, Kathleen McPhaul, Susan M. Engelhardt, Robert Kane, Raymond DiPino, Michael Kabat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A small group of Gulf War veterans have retained fragments of depleted uranium (DU) shrapnel, the long-term health consequences of which are undetermined. We evaluated the clinical health effects of DU exposure in Gulf War veterans compared with nonexposed Gulf War veterans. History and follow-up medical examinations were performed on 29 exposed veterans and 38 nonexposed veterans. Outcome measures used were urinary uranium determinations, clinical laboratory values, and psychiatric and neurocognitive assessment. Gulf War veterans with retained DU metal shrapnel fragments were found to be still excreting elevated levels of urinary uranium 7 years after first exposure to DU (range for exposed individuals is 0.01-30.7 μg/g creatinine vs. 0.01-0.05 μg/g creatinine in the nonexposed). The persistence of the elevated urine uranium suggests ongoing mobilization of uranium from a storage depot, resulting in chronic systemic exposure. Adverse effects in the kidney, a presumed target organ, were not seen at the time of the study; however, other subtle effects were observed in the reproductive and central nervous systems of the DU-exposed veterans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-124
Number of pages2
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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