The 1991 Persian Gulf War saw the use of advanced U.S. weaponry that devastated targets in Iraq while allowing the coalition forces to declare victory with limited military losses. Numerous developments in technology contributed to U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf’s success, including the use of depleted uranium (DU). The U.S. military claims that DU used by the coalition forces secured a significant advantage over the Iraqi military. This technology has since been used in Kosovo, in Afghanistan, and again in Iraq in 2003.
- The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW)
Four years following the victory of the first Gulf War, the acclaim of DU evolved into controversy as thousands of U.S. and coalition forces began suffering from an array of unexplained ailments, such as impaired cognition, fatigue, muscle ache, sleep disorders, and memory loss. Critics of DU attributed the mysterious symptoms, collectively known as the Gulf War Syndrome, to the radioactivity and chemical toxicity of depleted uranium.
PSR has long argued that DU should not be used by the military until sufficient health and environmental studies on the use of Depleted Uranium have been done to prove that it can be used safely by U.S. service personnel. We also call for clean-up of affected sites, both training ranges in the United States, and battlefields from Bosnia to Afghanistan, via Iraq, where DU has been used extensively.
Here PSR provides resources to learn about DU and its affects; to take action on pending legislation in Congress and to conduct follow-up research to learn about the issue in depth. PSR staff and physicians have worked to produce our new issue brief, an excellent summary of the issues surrounding the use of DU by the military, which you can read here.
Congressman Jim McDermott: “If Depleted Uranium is Safe, Let Them Prove It” - PSR worked with Congressman Jim McDermott to push for a study on the potential medical consequences of Depleted Uranium.
Congressional Legislation on Depleted Uranium: H R 2410 - Legislation that came as a result of work from PSR and our activists putting pressure for answers on Depleted Uranium
World Health Organization (WHO): Depleted Uranium
Worchester Polytechnic Institute: Depleted Uranium Health Effects
Argonne National Laboratory for the DOE Office of Environmental Management: Depleted Uranium Effects
Global Security: Depleted Uranium
DU Report (PDF) - Depleted Uranium Report published by PSR to support the national push for answers on DU before expanding its use in ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.