Biologic Monitoring and Surveillance Results for the Department of Veterans Affairs' Depleted Uranium Cohort: Lessons Learned From Sustained Exposure Over Two Decades

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BackgroundA small group of Gulf War I veterans wounded in depleted uranium (DU) friendly fire incidents have been monitored in a clinical surveillance program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore since 1994.MethodsAn in-patient clinical surveillance protocol was performed on 35 members of the cohort, including exposure monitoring for total and isotopic uranium concentrations in urine and a comprehensive assessment of health outcomes.ResultsAlthough urine U concentrations continue to be elevated in this group, illustrating on-going in situ mobilization of U from embedded fragments, no consistent U-related health effects have been observed.ConclusionsNow more than 20 years since first exposure to DU, an aging cohort of military veterans continues to show no U-related health effects in known target organs of U toxicity. As tissue concentrations continue to accrue with exposure duration, critical tissue-specific U concentration thresholds may be reached, thus recommending on-going surveillance of this veteran cohort. Am. J. Ind. Med. 58:583–594, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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