depleted uranium weapons

Andy Coates esquincle at
Wed Jul 16 16:42:44 MDT 2003

First I'm happy to be wrong about criticizing Michael Perleman and
should have considered a context I didn't understand.  I apologize.
Should have looked at pen-l or kept quiet.


> any idea what were the particle sizes?

I think the idea goes that <10 micrometers, as in a dust storm,
there's a potential problem.  >8 micrometers, the aerosolized droplet
lands in the nose or mouth, between 5 and 8 micrometers it makes it to
   the large airways (brochi and bronchioles) and under 5 micrometers
it sticks in the alveoli (the tiny sacs of the lung where gas exchange
with the bloodstream occurs).  This concept hits home when you see at
autopsy human lungs of nonsmoking city dwellers which are black with
the soot deposits of decades.  The particles from the National Lead
plant were spherical and other shapes, 4 to 6 micrometers in diameter.
  Particles from exploded, oxidized DU weapons are much, much smaller
(the masks used by the military are useless) and travel much, much

> have you seen higher incidences of lung cancer or other lung problems?
> or is your sampling too small?

the second one.  but I've caught myself wondering.

> would stuff in urine be from swallowing as opposed to breathing it in?
> or are these particles small enough to pass through the lungs, into
> the blood, and thence filtered into the urine?

Again, the second one.  Although I think the explanation is that inert
particles lodge in the alveoli where they emit alpha radiation over a
period of time (those soot deposits again), or else picked up by
macrophages only to be deposited elsewhere in the body via the
bloodstream.  I think the lung and kidney (and brain?) disease
prominent in Gulf War vets would likely have to do with the physiology
of how the great quantity of blood flows through these organs, and how
each acts as a type of filter.

> if you get the Durakovic and Dietz article to be published in Military
> Medicine, maybe you could pass it along offlist? and dietz's email
> too, if he has made it public.

yes, forthcoming.


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