(Source: DefenceWeb) – Gulf War Illness not caused by exposure to depleted uranium, study finds

Debris from depleted uranium munitions used in the Gulf War has long been blamed for contributing to the illness of hundreds of thousands of veterans, but new research proves it is not the cause, according to the University of Portsmouth.

More than a quarter of a million US, UK and other Allied nations’ servicemen and women have endured Gulf War illness since the Persian Gulf War in 1991, 30 years ago, the university said on 18 February.

The illness has a range of acute and chronic symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory problems, and appears rooted in neurological impairment.

It has long been plausibly alleged that the soldiers inhaled significant quantities of depleted uranium from allied munitions used on the battlefield and suffered from its toxic and mildly radioactive effects.

Research at the University of Portsmouth tested US Gulf War illness sufferers to examine levels of residual depleted uranium in their bodies and their study proves conclusively – and, for many, surprisingly – that none of them were exposed to any significant amounts of depleted uranium. (…)

The research, by Professor Randall Parrish at the University of Portsmouth, UK, and Dr Robert Haley, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas (USA), is published in Nature Scientific Reports.

Professor Parrish (…) [and] and Dr Haley believe the most likely remaining causes for the illness are low-level and widespread exposure to sarin nerve agent released widely from the destruction of Iraqi chemical weapons caches in January 1991, possibly compounded by the use of organophosphate anti-nerve agent medication and the liberal use of pesticides to prevent malaria exposure to allied forces. (…)


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Photo © A soldier stands guard near a burning oil well during the Gulf War, as published in ibid