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Medical News and Perspectives
April 2, 2003

Battlefield Uranium Doubts Linger for Troops

JAMA. 2003;289(13):1621-1623. doi:10.1001/jama.289.13.1621

Scientific consensus can be elusive. It took decades for scientists to accept that continents drift, that DNA is not a protein, and that Mendel was right. Such is the process of science.

In the case of "depleted" uranium weapons, consensus regarding possible health effects remains distant 12 years after their battlefield debut. The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains that the weapons are safe—as safe as live ammunition can be, at least. Prestigious institutions such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States and the Royal Society in London, England, provide qualified reassurance about some potential health effects, but say the available studies are too limited and have too many shortcomings to allow firm conclusions.

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